TOD Plans for College Park, M Square Purple Line stations

Back on April 4th the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission presented the results of their Purple Line community workshop at a public meeting. I attended, and while M-NCPPC’s delay in posting material has delayed this writeup, there’s still quite a bit to talk about. The Prince George’s County Planning Department within M-NCPCC established five Station Planning Areas to address stations areas not covered by another plan of some form.

M Square and College Park station areas, looking West.

Continue reading TOD Plans for College Park, M Square Purple Line stations

College Park Metro Walk Score Ranks Among the Worst

Greater Greater Washington recently did a story on the Walk Scores of Metro stations and predictably found Prince George’s County bringing up the rear with an average score of 49.8 out of 100… which is considered Car Dependent. Using an address on the west side of the Metro station gives a score of 49 while the east side give a horrendous score of 37.

walkscoreThis probably isn’t news to anyone who works near M-Square or uses the College Park Metro station with any regularity. There is a complete lack of any viable options for those wishing to move towards a car-free lifestyle and using the current M-Square master plan as a guide, not much will chance in the future.

As Matt Johnson from GGW points out, Prince George’s County in particular is having challenges taking advantage of its Metro stations.

Prince George’s has 15 stations, which is more than any other jurisdiction aside from the District. The county is at a disadvantage because of the placement of many stations. Even so, Prince George’s has not committed to transit-oriented development around its stations. The county has a history of allowing development on the fringes of the county to short-circuit demand for offices and retail near Metro.

In the past, there have been grand plans for development near the Metro that have gone nowhere for one reason or another; however, M-Square is moving forward with three “suburban style” office buildings that would  do very little to bring up that Walk Score. It’s time to take M-Square and the area surrounding the Metro seriously.

UMD Continues M-Square Transit Dis-Oriented Development

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.

See the current M-Square Master Plan HERE.


College Park Development Update – January

The Development Update is a bi-monthly newsletter prepared by the City of College Park Planning, Community and Economic Development Department covering development activity in the City. This edition features updates on the Maryland Book Exchange redevelopment, Domain at College Park, Cafritz Property, and The Varsity. If you have any questions or would like to subscribe, please feel free to contact Michael Stiefvater at (240) 487-3543 or

November College Park Development Update

The College Park Development Update is a bi-monthly newsletter prepared by the City of College Park Planning, Community and Economic Development Department covering development activity in the City. Please feel free to distribute this information as you see fit. Questions or comments can be directed to Economic Development Coordinator Michael Stiefvater at (240)487-3543 or

UMD And Lockheed Martin Corp. Form Partnership


The University of Maryland and Lockheed Martin Corp. last Friday announced a new partnership that would potentially help fill more research and office space at the M-Square research park. The Fortune 500 global security company and the university have ties that go back 60 years. Lockheed Martin has committed to spend $1 million dollars per year for three years with the possibility of continued support in the future.

The new agreement provides a strategic framework for current and future cooperation that leverages the resources, talent, and ideas of both institutions to produce innovative solutions for global and national security challenges. The agreement provides for work in three key areas: Centers of Collaboration, Joint Pursuit of Business Opportunities, and Enhanced Research and Development.

It is currently unknown if the partnership will require space at UMD’s M-Square research park. There are three additional buildings that have not broken ground yet. The key focus areas in the partnership would be a perfect fit at M-Square.

Officials say a key part of the new strategic relationship is the creation of Centers of Collaboration, which will support sustained cooperative work in mutually agreed-upon areas – initially logistics and sustainment, climate change, and cyber-security.

Current tenants at M-Square include the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity organization, Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Earth System Science and Interdiciplinary Center, and the American Center for Physics to name a few.


Food Safety Lab Coming to M Square

The Gazette is reporting on a new 5,000 square foot Food Safety lab to be in place in the Patapsco building by July of 2011. This is a  joint venture with the Waters Corp. and the University.  The Patapsco location is ideal for a lab such as this since it is directly next to the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition building.  Scientists will attend two-week training sessions at the new lab which will be called the International Food Safety Training Laboratory (IFSTL).

About 200 foreign scientists will be taught there annually by members of the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, a collaborative program between the university and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The lab will have a staff of five full-time workers.

Continue reading Food Safety Lab Coming to M Square

M-Square Top Choice for Biotech Cluster

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East Campus? Stalled. Purple Line? Still Waiting. Maryland Football? Don’t ask. Here at RTCP we could use a little good news. Well we got some from Washington Business Journal. It looks like M-Square was selected as the top choice in Prince George’s for a new cluster of biotech startups. The proposal calls for two, five story buildings of 105,000 square-feet each right smack next to the metro station.

For years, Prince George’s County has been relegated to throwing farewell parties for its most promising biotech startups as they pack up and move to neighboring Montgomery County for more readily available lab space.

Continue reading M-Square Top Choice for Biotech Cluster

Campus Expansion Efforts Cautiously Moving Ahead


On Friday July 17th the City hosted a Real Estate roundtable.  Ann Wylie, the Vice President of Administrative Affairs, was the primary presenter. There were many Campus and Local officials present and based on the lack of  empty seats interest was high.  The second speaker was Chris Warren providing details of local economic activity. Here are a few random highlights that I jotted down mainly from Mrs. Wylie’s talk. If you were there and have more to add please do jump in the comment section.

Continue reading Campus Expansion Efforts Cautiously Moving Ahead

“Aviation Plaza” Proposed For TDOZ Warehouse Area.

TDOZ-splotch The Urban Land Institute (ULI) spent a few days in May evaluating the TDOZ warehouse district for potential development. The area of interest is identified by that big red splotch on the image. Currently a large portion of that area is for sale and could be yours for the low price of $6.2 million. This is a greatly underutilized hunk of land in a prime location close to metro and M-Square. ULI is to provide planning and design guidance as well as a strategy for moving forward with the site. The ULI plan calls for

  • 600 Residential units at various price points,
  • 300,000 square feet of office space.
  • 140-180 room Hotel covering 100,000 square feet.
  • 40,000 square feet for Retail space.

They are placing special emphasis on making connections with the Aviation Museum and respecting FAA requirements. They have even suggested that the public space be named Aviation Plaza.

Continue reading “Aviation Plaza” Proposed For TDOZ Warehouse Area.