What’s New in CP

As many are well aware, RTCP is in semi-hibernation mode at the moment. We’re planning on a kickoff meeting to discuss the future of the site sometime in May. Until then there are a couple tid-bits to report despite the dampened state of the real estate market. Thanks to everyone who continues to email and post comments about all the great changes coming to the city….

-> Starview Plaza – The Diamondback reports that Starview Plaza is progressing through the early stages of the approval process. The project, which sits just north of College Park Carwash, has languished for years (at least 5?) and the underlying land is owned jointly by the City and University. Originally planned as a hotel, the developer now plans a 500-Beleagured Starview Projectbed mixed use student housing project with an impressive LEED Silver rating. As the Diamondback reports, there has been much debate over exactly what materials should be used on the facade. The Sector Plan requires 75% brick and as the Mazza Grandmarc debate showed us, the city and the county in particular hold tightly to that standard regardless of how visible certain parts of the building are. The choice is between hardyplank – a composite of recycled materials which helps a buildings LEED rating – and brick (an energy-intensive material) on the least visible parts of the building. Let’s hope the county council departs from its absolutist ways by avoiding unneccessary delays…

southwest district phasing-> Campus Construction – The University has released an updated campus construction map, which shows progress on several different projects we’ve blogged about over time. The new journalism building is progressing, the Tyser Tower expansion at Byrd Stadium is underway, and improvements to the Southwest quad and in front of the business school are coming to a close. Also, North Gate Park, a project mired in bureaucracy, funding constraints, and development SNAFUS for the better part of four years is scheduled to start construction this summer. North Gate Park is a joint venture between the city and university and was designed by undergraduate students. 

-> Parking – Recognizing the serious burden that parking requirement place on private developers of student housing, UMD-DOTS via the university’s strategic plan has agreed that students at select off-campus housing complexes can park on-campus. This is a smart move that we think could pay serious dividends by encouraging more student housing. Building lots on Route 1 are small and shallow, thus making the provision of suburban-style parking ratios extremely difficult for dense mixed-use projects. Hopefully the city/county can capitalize on this new policy to implement their Transportation Demand Management plans.

-> Purple Line – There are signs that Campus Drive advocates are making serious inroads. More to come shortly.

Commerce Bank dead, ‘Starview Plaza’ Reborn

The Commerce Bank project (just across from Plato’s Dinner) was rejected unanimously by the City Council almost a year ago and not approved until it removed a drive thru window from its plans. Now, we are getting news that the bank pulled out and now the developer is walking away…

Beleagured Starview Project‘Starview Plaza’ (located just north of CP Car Wash), a project which has languished for years as a joint venture between the City-University Partnership, a private developer, and other public partners, has been reborn as a five-story student housing project with 540 beds and ground floor retail. According to the Diamondback, the developer is taking LEED Silver Certification seriously. The project joins a growing list of recently proposed student housing projects – the trend differs dramatically from what we saw just 6 months ago.

Bethesda Park???

While doing some research for our presentation to the SGA last night, we came across some shocking data. Even though we are one of the most outspoken organizations constantly exclaiming College Park’s ‘ripeness for redevelopment’ and are on record talking about CP’s imminent “massive development campaign” several times, putting these numbers in one place really took our breath away (italics indicate our confidence that the project will be built):

-> East Campus Development Initiative (extensive housing – 1000 units?, office, retail)
-> M-Square Research Park (extensive office, 490 condos)
-> Private Investments in the pipeline

  • Mosaic at Turtle Creek (8 stories, 300 condos behind Hillel)
  • City Hall deal (9 stories, 165 condos, 350 space downtown garage, retail)
  • Northgate Condominiums (17 stories 204 condos, retail)
  • Starview Plaza (110 units, office, retail)
  • University View Overlook (office, retail in front of University View)
  • Berwyn House Apartments (additional 72 units)
  • CP Metro Station (400 condos)
  • Hillcrest Heights (140-160 condos, retail – now considering combining with Lasicks and providing student housing)
  • Mazza Grandmarc Apartments (211 unit student housing – North CP)
  • Knox Redevelopment???
  • Universal Barber Site – Condos???
  • North Gate Luxury Hotel???

We got most of this information from the College Park Development Update. Although some of these projects are still in the conceptual stage and have a rigorous approval process ahead of them, they represent literally billions in potential investment for the area. Even if only half of these projects come to fruition in the next 10-15 years, College Park will be forever changed by the influx of both diverse buyers/renters and retail. Alas, the condo market, politics, and planning are notoriously fickle – potentially thwarting plans from year to year and changing the nature of projects.

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