Of the seven active construction projects (listed on our area projects by number page) in College Park right now, five of them are student housing. The other two are University-led office buildings in M-Square. Indeed, there is an unprecedented amount of dirt moving on Route 1 right now; proving that while the national economy may still be floundering, CP student housing fundamentals are still strong. If you include South Campus Commons #7 (which was just completed near Van Munching Hall) we’re witnessing the completion of about 3,600 public, private, and public-private (partnership) student beds over the course of about 3-4 years. That’s an incredible number when you consider that the first six Commons buildings and the first phase of University View only amounted to 2,925 beds.
This surge in construction has led some to speculate that perhaps we’ll witness a student housing bubble since all of these units are dedicated student housing and totally separate from the larger area rental market. These developers who are breaking ground don’t seem to think so. We think it’s too early to tell, but a bubble wouldn’t be such a bad thing for student rents. Otis Warren’s planned University View phase III (8350-8400 Baltimore Ave. in image above) which will house about 1000 beds is apparently stalled because of market conditions (they leased out their 8400 Baltimore Ave office building for another year). UMD is also holding tight on Commons #8. If either of these projects get moving again in 2011 or soon thereafter, it will be a clear indication that developers and financiers still see profit potential in student high rises.
The Varsity Grill is closing its doors after just under two years. The owners blamed its demise on both the local economy and its inability to attract a loyal following among students. The past two years has been a abysmal time to get a business off the ground and we are sad to see the Varsity Grill go. It would seem that with all of the construction nearby that the Grill would soon have a large base of patrons.
UPDATE: According to the Diamondback the real reason for the sudden closure of the popular restaurant is because the landlord is selling to property to a high-rise developer.
The University announced today that they plan to purchase the abandoned Washington Post site for $12 Million with the intention to use the site to house facilities currently on the East Campus site. This is a clear victory for those who were opposed to using the Wooded Hillock site for relocation as was previously recommended.
The Washington Post site is 18.5 acres with 315,000 square feet of space available. A good portion of the indoor space is 2 1/2 stories tall and could be converted to seperate floors if needed.
Is this a good plan? Brilliant move? Waste of money? What are your thoughts? The Campus press release is after the break.
*Indicates updated project information
New information italicized
PLANS FILED (8)
CHINESE BIBLE CHURCH OF COLLEGE PARK* The Chinese Bible Church has filed their Detailed Site Plan to build an addition to their existing church and to expand their parking lot. The DSP has not been accepted.
THE DOMAIN AT COLLEGE PARK*
Located at the corner of Campus Drive and Mowatt Lane, this project is proposed to be a 5-story luxury multi-family building with 250 residential units and 5,000 – 10,000 square feet of retail. The Hanover Company will be the developer. The developer will market the project to graduate students, young professionals, visiting professors, and empty nesters. The project is expected to be delivered in the fall of 2012 based on a tentative construction schedule. In July 2009, the District Council approved a zoning change from R55 to M-X-T. Continue reading Economic Development Update