Yesterday, a veritable who’s who of College Park civic life gathered to take a look at the final plans for the East Campus project.
Although a representative from the project architects Street Sense admitted the plans were “still changing as we speak,” dozens of formal MNCPPC “approvals” drawings were scattered about the room, and the team seemed on track for a July submission to the Detailed Site Plan review process.
University officials, student leaders and politicians at the local, county, and state level were on hand perusing the plans. Dour community residents huddled around the traffic table, scouring the numbers presented and taking every last copy of traffic handouts. In the center of it all was Doug Duncan, holding court at a table in the center of the room. Notably absent were College Park Mayor Steve Brayman or Council Member Bob Catlin, although we assume both have already seen some form of the plans presented.
As for the design, reviews were mixed. Many expressed frustration that the designs were too conservative and bland. The University’s Architectural Review Board, which oversees the design of all campus buildings, have been working overtime to finalize the plans with Foulger Pratt and their consultants. However, architecture is an art not a science: one undergraduate regarded the drawings with concern, “I can’t see the campus look here at all,” he quipped, complaining of its contemporary flavor. A theater building and Birchmere Theater were among the most liked, although one well-informed community member acidly quipped about Duncan’s coup from Alexandria that he’d “believe it when I see it.”
The site plan overall held no surprises. The housing had been scaled back from 2,000 units to 1,508, and the phase 2 footprint was significantly smaller than previously discussed. Street connections to Old Town were built, although with bollards clearly marked on the plans. The retail, office, and hotel sizes were similar to earlier plans, and a representative from the architects reported the site continued to have strong interest from potential stores.
When the project enters the public review process, the city, planning board, and county council will weigh in. The required public funding for the parking will be a major issue, and has been little discussed in public thus far.
We’ve requested electronic copies of the submitted documents, which we’ll add here when we get them. For now, here are some cameraphone photos.
This hotel will stand at the corner of Route 1 and Paint Branch Parkway. The design has become a good deal more traditional since earlier renderings.
This image shows residential buildings above retail on Route 1, with the office building to the far right.
This view north on Route 1 shows the office building. Richie Coliseum is shown on the right.
Here is the final overall project massing:
Update, 7/14: Here are some higher quality versions we were provided.
“View below is the proposed hotel at Rt. 1 and Paint Branch Parkway (where the Campus Mail facility currently stands).”
“View below is the proposed office complex at Rt. 1 and Rossborough Lane (where the University Police station currently is.) This view is looking North on Rt. 1, with Ritchie Coliseum on the right-hand side of the image.”
“View below is the proposed mixed use along Rt. 1 between Paint Branch Parkway (outside the image to the LEFT), and Rossborough Lane (outside the image to the right). This view would be if you are heading South on Rt. 1. You can see the top of the proposed office complex at the far right of the image. You can also see where there is a proposed new road accessing East Campus. That looks to be about where the Harrison Laboratory is now on Rt. 1.”