Here are a few updated renderings of The Varsity project near the main entrance of the UMD campus. These images provide us with not only the latest glimpse of what the building will look like, but also its relation to Northgate Park which was redesigned during the development review process after a land swap between UMD, MNCPPC and the developer (the building is built right on top of what was originally proposed as a publicly-owned rain garden). We also found this great time lapse camera from the construction site.
While the design doesn’t push the architectural envelope, it is another welcome improvement in the Northgate Development District. The Varsity will add to the increasingly urban feel for the part of Route 1 next to the University View complex. The retail tenants for the ground floor are still a mystery, but any enhancement to the business climate should be a plus. We don’t generally weigh in on architectural issues, but RTCP is concerned that the color schemes used for The Varsity, University View, and Starview Plaza are all nearly identical. Including some distinguishing color schemes along Route 1 could add some some vibrancy and avoid a potentially monotonous built environment. A vibrant color scheme will let people know they have actually stepped off campus into the City of College Park. Going forward, perhaps there can be more emphasis on distinctive color schemes during the planning phase for new projects.