East Campus Details Released, Potential Development Partner Chosen

The university announced today that it is partnering with Foulger-Pratt Companies and Argo Investment Company of Rockville, MD to redevelop East Campus. The announcement comes exactly 6 months after dozens of developers packed Ritchie Colosseum to hear about the massive 2 million square foot expansion of campus. FP-Argo is best known for their work on Downtown Silver Spring, which is widely credited with transforming that city’s downtrodden core. In a small press meeting, Interim Vice President for Administrative Affairs Frank Brewer explained to us that the university will be working with FP-Argo over the next 4-8 months to come to specific terms on the proposed 75 year ground lease. When questioned about the selection process Brewer stated that FP-Argo simply had the “most interesting concept”, most attractive combination of uses, and proposed the best financial arrangement.

Brewer also oulined a set of preliminary plans (and we emphasize preliminary):

-2300-2400 graduate student beds

-1500 market rate units

-a “large” retail center

-“Class A” office building (10 stories)

-Hotel (10 stories)

-3800 parking spaces

The project is expected to come in two phases with the first being the non-residential portion (2011 build-out) and the second being residential (2015-2016). The residential units are expected to be 4-5 stories and located on present day Old and New Leonardtown. The long time frame is primarily a result of the need to relocate existing facilities on east campus to other areas. The developer has proposed to build a 500 bed dormitory on north campus to replace the lost undergraduate beds (and some). You can be sure we’ll have more on this in the weeks and months to come. Brewer emphasized that East Campus will be a reiterative process with dozens upon dozens of meetings and ample opportunity for public input and stakeholder analysis.

5 thoughts on “East Campus Details Released, Potential Development Partner Chosen”

  1. I live out of state and have not visited Silver Spring but I know one thing based on a few of the photos I have viewed of the development:

    I hope we dont create massive window-less walls with that synthetic stucco crap (Im not a tradesman but I think its called something like “Dryvit” or something to that effect)

    I hope CP creates something that appears to be more organic with a variety of matierals or stays true to the georgian beauty of the campus. Some of the photos on here make me a bit nervous. Sure, I understand the bottom line and the $ ut lets not blow it and create canyons of congestion. I like the diagrams that suggest continuing the McKeldin Mall Willow Walk from the top of the hill at Tawes Plaza all the way down the hill past Admin/Armory, across the route , through east campus, and down to Paint Branch. Now THAT would be cool.

    There is a photo somewhere on RTCP that shows one of the bldgs (Mens Wearhouse and borders I think)with this massive window-less wall up against the road – and a lame attempt to break it up with banners

    Plus, I hope its not all large upscale chains – I hope CP gets a little funky with some true college town establishments (second hand books, internet cafes, coffee houses, vegetarian food, …..a little Berkeley….a hip left alternative to the bland “suburbia-wannabe hip urban” conservative conformity over in MontCo)

  2. We shouldn’t be too hasty to assume any East Campus development will repeat the mistakes of the Silver Spring project which, though still a vast improvement over what preceded it, appears massive, maintains impenetrable super blocks, segregates retail from residential uses, and hosts mostly chain stores.

    The fact that the East Campus development is meant to be mixed-use (residential and commercial space) ensures that it will differ significantly from the Silver Spring project.

    Fortunately, in the months to come the University and the developer will hold public fora to discuss (and hopefully adopt) these design ideas. How often does a public input process for a development project get such thoughtful design advice beyond the usual NIMBY tirade? Rarely, I’m sure, and that’s what Rethink College Park is hoping to change.

    Keep your suggestions coming!

  3. I am with you, Eric and Kevin. We don’t need more chain stores selling pizza.

    President Mote says that he understands the need to develop a vibrant downtown area. On the other hand, the university also sees real estate as a cash cow. I am not sure that campus leaders have the vision to forego monetary benefits if that’s what it takes.

  4. As I’ve stated before, the university basically expects to break even on East Campus. Money makes the world go round and if there is no profit in this project, the developer will feel little need to invest upwards of half a billion dollars into College Park.

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