About five miles south of College Park on Route 1, construction of an “Arts District” in Hyattsville is well under way. Guided by years of planning by county officials to develop a Gateway Arts District in the area, a large development by the EYA company is now under construction.
This new development includes 350 rowhomes, at least 100 condominiums. The project includes 13 “live-work” units, which are expected to be habited by mostly local artists who will run businesses on the ground floor with their dwelling units above. In addition to the residential community, new restaurants and retail are expected to find a place as well. Currently on the drafting board for the town is a new Art Gallery bordering Route 1, bike trails, swimming facilities, and fitness center. The Arts District is designed to take advantage of vacant land and closed auto dealerships, long the target of local leaders unhappy with their existence on Route 1. The expectation is that the project will improve conditions along Route 1 in Hyattsville. The Washington Post reported on development in the Arts District in December.
Do not some of these same conditions exist along the Route 1 sector next to campus in College Park? An empty furniture store lies across from Plato’s Diner; an old administration building behind Kinko’s is abandoned. Further North, the condition of Route 1 worsens. However, what exists in Hyattsville that will hopefully be contagious to its neighboring towns along Route 1 is the cooperative excitement of residents and businesses. College Park has potential to integrate its downtown with its community of permanent residents and university students. Hopefully the Arts District to our south will spark positive development in College Park.