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 msteifvater@collegeparkmd.gov.

Speaking of Eminent Domain… City Looks to Seal the Deal on #1 Liquors

U View and #1 Liquor
Apparently, the city’s patience with #1 Liquors is wearing thin. After nearly a decade of begging, prodding, and cajoling tactics, councilmembers are starting to contemplate eminent domain proceedings on College Park’s most infamous homestead holdout. According to the Diamondback the city would like to acquire the parcel in order to create “a park”:

The council voted last night to try to buy the property or to try to get it condemned if its owner refuses to sell. Some View residents said they would miss the store’s convenient location and were skeptical of plans to create such a tiny park.

The lot is a questionable location for a new park seeing as the City-University partnership is creating the 5-acre North Gate Park just south of the liquor store where Paint Branch Stream Northgate District (looking towards campus)passes under Route 1. But the plan may be the city’s only real means to get rid of the squat one-story building in the emerging North Gate Development District. The store would be surrounded on three sides by major development in the area that includes the University View’s nearly complete complex and Mark Vogel’s planned 700-bed Varsity Student Housing project. The area is but one small glimmer of hope in College Park’s otherwise grim real estate environment. Perhaps the store owner would have been wise to take an offer for a ground floor retail spot in the University View’s new building. They would have had a captive audience of literally thousands of students in complexes either planned, approved, or already built.

Incidentally I just did a lengthy post at TheCityFix.com about eminent domain and a recent New York State court case that has catapulted the controversial issue back into the public spotlight. As I explain in the post, the tool can benefit communities, but it has several pitfalls. Councilwoman-elect Christine Nagle put it well in her quote in the Diamondback article where she expressed her disagreement with the city’s plan to remove businesses it “just doesn’t like”:

“We’re just starting Route 1 redevelopment,” Nagle said. “How many little parks are we going to have? Every time someone doesn’t make a deal?”

Continue reading Speaking of Eminent Domain… City Looks to Seal the Deal on #1 Liquors

City Council Says Oui to University View Part Trois

Full build out
The building at the far right is University View III

The Diamondback reports that the City Council gave a thumbs up to View III. The completion of the University View trifecta will begin at the end of next summer.  This will bring an additional 992 beds and 19,000 square feet of retail space.  By my estimate all three building provide in the neighborhood of 2600 beds for students just steps away from the main entrance to campus.

Continue reading City Council Says Oui to University View Part Trois

University View Pictures Released

As we reported Sunday, the University View plans an absolutely massive phased expansion – 434 units (1,416 student beds) and a whopping 30,000+ S.F. of retail. The 1st phase is planned to take place by 2010 (directly in front of the University View) with the other phases (including a parking garage) materializing by 2012.

Special thanks to Councilmember Stephanie Stullich for getting ahold of these for the general public. Looks like we’re finally getting somewhere around here…

Full build out

Elevations:

University View elevations

Site Plan:
Street Pattern

Ground floor retail and amenity plan:

View first floor site planUniversity View Groundfloor siteplan

Existing locational charm:

Existing conditions as of 2007

University View Overlooked?

Finished University View

Maybe the most reviled building in College Park, the University View has been the subject of much criticism ever since its doors opened last fall. Indeed the building is a bit overwhelming, but the benefits of putting 1,100 students right at the university’s front gate are hard to ignore. Also, the complex actually hasn’t been completed yet. Original plans called for a 177,000 square foot office building immediately in front of the View’s Parking garage – aptly named the “University View Overlook”. Since the lot is zoned “mixed use” and falls under the Route One Sector plan, the planned building will come directly up to the sidewalk and include 5,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor.

College Park Planning Director, Terry Schum, told us that there is no timing requirement for building the office complex and since the developer no longer has the university as a potential tenant (they were originally going to lease the space) the project is currently in limbo. And there is always that pesky #1 liquor store…
Preliminary rendering of the View complex The View