For those who are interested in local business news, there’s a treasure trove of information published every two months by the City of College Park in its bi-monthly Business Beat newsletter. Few probably take the time to read through through these PDF files, and we think it deserves a full post with relevant links to provide additional context. Though it’s a bit on the tardy side — this newsletter came out on Feb. 16th — here’s a full breakdown of the latest business activity.
– Hookah Cafe (next to Krazi Kebob on Lehigh Rd.)
– Sakurah Seafood Buffet (by AMF Bowling on Rt. 1, just south of 193)
– Sweet Green (University View II, ground floor retail)
– Auntie Anne’s Pretzels (UMD Stamp Student Food Court)
– Fox’s Pizza Den (former location of Alarios Pizza, by College Park Diner on Rt. 1)
– Ke’ Chic Boutique (Lehigh Rd. & Yale Ave.) – covered in Patch.
– Punch Copy (corner of Rt. 1 & Calvert)
– The Tech Spot (Rt 1, close to Big Planet Comics)
– Big Play Sports Grill
Once expected to open last fall, now scheduled to open in late March; former location of Vito’s Pizzeria. Operated by a UMD graduate; will be strongly focused on the campus sports scene with memorabilia from former standout athletes adorning the walls.
– District Dumplings
Scheduled to open in May.
Note that these two are both going into Terrapin Station, which has been somewhat of a revolving door for businesses in the past.
The city is hosting their first Real Estate Roundtable in nearly two years on Thursday, March 15, 2012 from 8:30 AM to 10:30 AM at the Clarion Inn. The event provides an opportunity for local stakeholders to receive updates on major developments and to discuss future plans that will shape the city for years to come. The keynote speaker for the event is Rob Specter, the Vice President for Administrative Affairs and Chief Financial Officer at the University of Maryland. Mr. Specter was appointed to these positions in July 2011 with more than 25 years of senior leadership experience in higher education. Mr. Specter will discuss the University’s plans for the first phase of East Campus, development plans at M Square, and the ongoing faculty housing study.
Additional speakers will include the City of College Park’s Planning, Community, and Economic Development Director, Terry Schum, and Economic Development Coordinator, Michael Stiefvater. The event, which is free of charge, will begin with a breakfast buffet and time for networking.
To RSVP, please contact Michael Stiefvater at 240-487-3543 or email@example.com by March 5th.
The Business Beat is a bi-monthly newsletter prepared by the City of College Park Planning, Community and Economic Development Department covering local business news including openings, closings, expansions, leases signed, and other information of interest. This edition features news on the upcoming Real Estate Roundtable, Lime Fresh, Pho D’Lite, Terrapin Turf, and many other items. To subscribe, please contact Michael Stiefvater at (240) 487-3543 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you work on campus the University of Maryland wants you to live here. The Gazette is reporting on a study being performed by UMD to determine what folks are looking for in a neighborhood to better market the surrounding area to faculty and staff.
We’ve profiled Live Near Your Work programs before which have a marginal success rate at best. Currently only 33% of faculty/staff live in Prince Georges county. What is really needed is a radical change in the perception of the area among potential homeowners. Although College Park was voted the Best Place to Raise a Family in 2011 by Bussinessweek, there are still several factors that push people to Montgomery, Howard, and even farther out in Prince Georges county. Concerns about public safety, the consistently low performing public schools, and high taxes are high on potential homeowners minds when they look to settle in the area.
So why is it that more faculty/staff do not live near campus?
The on-again/off-again East Campus project that was stalled after the original developer pulled out is heating up again. The Diamondback reported on Thursday that plans for phase I of the East Campus project are being released. The City Council recently voted gave the approval for $3.3 million in state funds to be released to the University to clear off the old facilities on the site.
The first part of the plan is to include a hotel with ample conference space, grad housing and almost 60,000 square feet of retail. Stay tuned for upcoming public forums to discuss the types of retail should inhabit this new location. We seem to remember already having a series of public forums on this very topic.
Taking cues from 1980s-style office parks, UMD is forging ahead with the next phase of M-Square (see interactive map) – its suburban office complex steps from College Park’s metrorail Green Line station. Not only does the proposed three 150,000 square foot building, 1,114 parking space development ignore its relationship to the Green Line, it fails to acknowledge a planned Purple Line light rail station directly at its front door. The plan misses or puts off indefinitely several opportunities to make critical pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicle connections in the area. The College Park City Council will discuss the plan in Tuesday’s work session and the Prince George’s County Planning Board will hear the application March 8th.
While the proposal conforms to the 1997 College Park-Riverdale Transit District Development Plan (TDDP), it stands in direct contradiction to the University’s sustainability goals. The design is completely legal and within the bounds of current zoning, but it abandon’s UMD’s moral obligation to Prince George’s County, College Park, and Riverdale. UMD should immediately remove this detailed site plan from consideration and wait for the completion of TDDP update (which will begin this summer) and M-NCPPC Purple Line TOD Study. According to M-NCPPC, these studies seek to address several issues confronting this area of town:
Most of the properties near the station are within the Aviation Policy Area (APA) 6 portion of the College Park Airport, and are subject to certain height and notification requirements.
Existing and proposed development in the M Square research park is not transit oriented or supportive, and lacks cohesive pedestrian- and transit-friendly design.
Federal tenants (FDA, NOAA, Center for Advanced Study of Language) require secure compounds detrimental to pedestrian and bicycle connectivity.
The Prince George’s County Planning Board approved the Cafritz rezoning by a 4-0 vote yesterday evening. Board Chairman Elizabeth Hewlett had recused herself from the matter because in her work as a
land use attorney she had consulted with Cafritz (She also recused herself from board proceedings in January). The Patch’s John Davisson posted a thorough blow by blow of Thursday’s hearing which can be found here. The proposal will next go to the District Council, which is made of up the members of (but not the same as) the Prince George’s County Council. The date for that hearing has yet to be set.
The conditions for the rezoning did go through additoonal changes since the previous hearing – the full changes are available here. Most changes were gramatical or technical. Notable changes include
Requiring plans for Baltimore Ave/Van Buren signalization, crosswalks and bicycle parking with the Detailed Site Plan, rather than the building permit applications
A requirement to put all utilities underground
An explicit requirement to send plans for the Baltimore Avenue buffer to University Park
More explicit process for turning over roads to the Town of Riverdale Park
Requirement for SHA preliminary approval for Baltimore Ave/Van Buren signalization before issuing a grading permit.
More explicit requirements for the staging of the Van Buren and Maryland Avenue extensions
Inclusion of Riverdale and University Parks in working to create a Transportation Demand Management District
In many ways, the Planning Board stage served as the appetizer. I’m sure we’ll get a big full meal of debate when the project moves to the District Council.