Final East Campus ‘Principles’ Meeting Wednesday

After an extensive, seven-month process of official meetings, private negotiations, and Rethink College Park discussions, the East Campus Community Review Steering Committee is set to discuss and (hopefully) approve a statement of development principles that will guide the development of the project. The meeting is planned for this Wednesday, February 27th at 7:30 p.m. in the Charles Carroll Room of the Stamp Union. After Purple Line-induced delays, the developers have also begun detailed design work on the project. Click read more to review the draft document.

East Campus Redevelopment Community Review Steering Committee

Principles for East Campus

The University of Maryland (“University”) and Foulger-Pratt/Argo (“Developer”) are committed to creating a vibrant mixed-use town center (“Project”) on the East Campus to help the University attract top-notch students, faculty and staff, revitalize the physical environment, and enhance the quality of life in College Park and along the Route 1 Corridor.

To that end, after receiving input from the East Campus Steering Committee (“Committee”) representing the University, College Park and surrounding communities, the University and the Developer:

• acknowledge that East Campus constitutes an open, public forum and the First Amendment’s protection of free speech is fully applicable;
• embrace the key principles listed below as a guide in developing the Project;
• commit to exploring the list of specific strategies bulleted below, incorporating these where feasible, and returning to meet with the Committee at appropriate stages of Project planning and design for further consultation;
• understand that the Project must balance competing interests to be both community responsive and economically feasible;
• pledge to effectively utilize public and private financial tools and programs to finance the Project, and that public investment funds, paid for out of Project revenues or tax revenues, will be used to help pay for utilities, infrastructure, parking, public amenities, public art, and environmental enhancements; and
• will submit the Project to all applicable local, state and federal laws and regulations, as well as to a University review process.

Category 1: Design

Key Principle: Create an outstanding architectural and urban design character that complements the surrounding environment by achieving a standard of excellence in the evolving area of sustainable design and inspiring creativity and an appropriate development character for the architecture, landscape and urban places within the Project.

Proposed Strategies:

1. Provide a model that will encourage higher standards for quality real estate design and development along the Route 1 corridor.

2. Reflect an authentic architectural character that is distinct from, but compatible with, that of the campus and College Park, and which incorporates: a) design principles for creating public urban spaces that are safe, well-maintained and attractive to residents and surrounding communities; and b) the Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability strategies outlined below.

3. To assure the project achieves an outstanding architectural and college town character, and embraces the University’s sustainability goals, the project design team will work closely with the University’s Architectural Design Standards Board (ADSB) throughout the project design process, but especially during the conceptual, schematic and design development phases. ADSB and the design team will present the final project site design and elevations to the University’s Facilities Council for approval before construction may begin.

4. Provide a variety of public and accessible urban spaces and corridors that encourage a walkable and safe 24-hour environment.

5. Develop design guidelines specific to the Project. These guidelines will address topics, such as circulation and architectural character.

6. Take advantage of the Maryland Public Art Fund to incorporate public art as appropriate in the Project.

Category 2: Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability

Key Principle: Demonstrate the responsible use of renewable and non-renewable resources in the construction and operation of the Project.

Proposed Strategies:

1. Benchmark all Project design and construction to achieve a LEED Silver status for the Project, pursuing Enterprise Green Communities or other relevant standards as appropriate. The University will be responsible for seeking LEED certification where applicable, including LEED-ND standards.

2. Respect the environmental sensitivity of the Anacostia River watershed and its tributaries, including the Paint Branch sub-watershed, the nearby connections with Indian Creek and the Northwest Branch.

3. Provide effective stormwater management that reduces pollutant loading from stormwater discharge and reduces peak stream flow rates to minimize channel erosion and help maintain the biological integrity of downstream waterways.

4. Institute measures to minimize noise pollution associated with the Project.

5. The University shall include the Project in the campus-wide Green House Gas emissions inventory (as conducted by the Center for Integrative Environmental Research) to help achieve climate neutrality, consistent with the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

6. Utilize appropriate landscape types, including native plant species, and design innovative irrigation strategies to the extent feasible.

7. Employ strategies to encourage water conservation and reduce the burden on municipal water supply and wastewater systems.

8. Institute measures to minimize spillover light as a source of pollution.

9. Promote indoor environmental quality control through appropriate design and materials to ensure thermal comfort, systems controllability, and natural day lighting that promotes improved occupant comfort, well-being and productivity.

10. The University will institute measures to promote renewable energy as a source of power.

11. Ensure that the Project’s energy-related systems are properly installed and commissioned.

12. Implement construction waste management strategies to minimize impact on landfills.

13. Use appliances, fixtures and materials that are energy efficient, conserve natural resources (e.g., water), minimize toxics (e.g., paints, flooring, cabinetry), reduce indoor air pollution, and contain recycled content, to the extent feasible.

14. Promote energy conservation through separate metering of leased space, as appropriate within the Project.

15. Service contracts and/or associated University and East Campus activities with janitorial, landscaping, operation and maintenance functions will contain conditions that require and encourage the use of environmentally preferable products and/or services that protect workers and promote residential health, and facilitate source reduction, the conservation of resources, recycling, waste management and environmentally sound disposal.

Category 3: Smart Growth, Transportation and Parking

Key Principle: Implement smart growth through a mix of uses; an emphasis on public transportation, bike and pedestrian connections; reduction of automobile use; a focus on safety; and appropriate parking strategies.

Proposed Strategies:

1. Reduce automobile traffic by:
• emphasizing and designing for other transportation modes, such as transit (Shuttle-UM, local bus and transit services, car sharing programs and the future Purple Line), walking and bicycling;
• providing direct, safe and attractive pedestrian/bicycle routes through the Project to enhance connections to the College Park Metro Station, M Square, Main Campus, downtown College Park, and surrounding areas;
• locating housing, retail and jobs closer to the University and to the College Park Metro Station; and
• redistributing traffic away from Route 1 and toward Paint Branch Parkway and Kenilworth Avenue.

2. Make improvements to Route 1 along the frontage of the Project in conformance with SHA plans for the Route 1 corridor.

3. Include bike lanes and trail connections to facilitate bike usage throughout the Project.

4. Assess transportation impacts of East Campus in accordance with County requirements and in coordination with the Sector Plan and SHA transportation studies, accounting, as required, for background traffic associated with other approved developments.

5. Plan for effective integration of the Purple Line along Rossborough Lane that facilitates and encourages ridership for communities, East Campus, University students, employees and visitors.

6. Consider participation in regional solutions through University initiatives, such as:
• institutionalized campaigns, policies and facilities at East Campus that facilitate the regular use of mass or alternative forms of transit, e.g., Metro checks, transit to connect developments and communities to the University and vice versa;
• service contracts for alternative fuel and/or hybrid vehicles;
• coordinated mass transit; and
• bus routes that link and extend beyond the Project site, connecting students, visitors, residents and communities to area attractions, events, history, etc. (e.g., Bladensburg waterfront, Hyattsville Arts District, Riversdale Mansion, the University).

7. Employ transportation demand management strategies, as appropriate, drawing recommendations from recent planning studies (Transportation Study of the U.S. Route 1 College Park Corridor (ICF International et al, 2007), and Achieving the Vision: Options for the College Park US Route 1 Corridor (ICF Consulting et al, 2006).

8. Reserve parking spaces for disabled persons, hybrid vehicles, flex/zip cars, other related service providers and car pools where appropriate (office parking).

9. Institute lease policies to require service delivery vehicles to access the Project from major arterials.

10. Enhance the safety of crossings between the East Campus and main campus, as approved by SHA and between East Campus and areas north of Paint Branch Parkway, as approved by Prince George’s County.

11. Provide the optimum amount of parking to make this a successful, high-quality Project, balancing factors such as the goal of encouraging other forms of transportation and the fact that most residents will have and want to store their cars.

12. Meet FAA, MAA and APA regulations which provide for airport operations and public safety associated with the College Park Airport.

Category 4: Uses

Key Principle: Incorporate and maintain a mix of high-quality retail, office, residential, restaurant, hotel and entertainment options attractive to the students, faculty and staff of the University, citizens of College Park and surrounding communities, and visitors.

Proposed Strategies:

1. Restrict “big box” retail uses (stores larger than 40,000 square feet), other than entertainment venues and grocery, clothing and fitness/gym uses.

2. To cultivate a college town atmosphere, make special efforts to include small, unique, specialty and/or locally-owned businesses. Methods for attracting these types of tenants should include:
• Targeting at least 30% of the number of retail stores in the Project for these types of tenants with no more than six locations of same brand stores in the mid-Atlantic region at the time of lease execution.
• Instituting a program of tenant recruitment, including outreach, business plan counseling, and allowance programs to attract interest by these types of tenants.

3. Provide housing types targeted to help meet the graduate student demand as well as to provide market rate units for faculty, staff and others desiring to live, long term, in an upscale community near the University.

4. The University and the city of College Park will spearhead the creation of a College Park Partnership (“CPP”), with cooperation and participation by a majority of downtown College Park and East Campus retail tenants, whose goal would be to link downtown College Park and East Campus into a single, attractive retail, arts and entertainment area, and which would be economically self-sustaining.

5. The University will explore the use of a part of the Pocomoke Building as the “Pocomoke Market” that would create a gathering spot, possibly including such uses as the University Dairy and a bakery, and strengthen connections between the existing downtown and the East Campus.

6. Use federal funds to undertake redevelopment initiatives such as installing wireless networks (Wi-Fi and/or Wi-MAX) throughout the Project and downtown College Park, and for façade improvements in downtown College Park.

Category 5: Project Initiatives and Resources

Key Principle: Provide opportunities for creating community awareness, involvement and excitement for the Project.

Proposed Strategies:

1. The University will consider ways in which to:
• integrate learning opportunities for students, faculty and community in the design, planning and implementation of the Project.
• encourage collaborative, ongoing relationships with organizations, both public (e.g., agencies, school systems) and private (e.g., corporations, “green” businesses), outside of the University which would benefit from contact with development.
• tap the advice and expertise of the University’s additional resources and knowledge on such matters from, among other sources, the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education, the Center for Integrative Environmental Research, and the example of interdisciplinary teams such as the exemplary 2007 Solar Decathlon team, to inform the Project and further enhance student and faculty input.

2. Work together to structure a relationship between East Campus security and University police with input from the community.

3. Developer will conform to state goals of 25% or such other goal as may be established by state law for MDOT certified MBE participation on all contracts for architect-engineer services and construction of the Project.

11 thoughts on “Final East Campus ‘Principles’ Meeting Wednesday”

  1. Thanks for this great reminder.

    I didn’t see any of you guys there, so I will use this comment to provide a bit of a recap of what took place.

    Community members discussed “widespreed feelings” that many things they asked for have been omitted from the principles due to concern only for the bottom line. Aside from the “lame” definition of a local independent business, they are generally happy with most of the things that have been included.

    People are happy with the strides that have been made on green issues, such as the LEED Silver commitment that was not in the RFP but is now in the principles.

    Doug Duncan understands the complaints about local businesses, but says once you start to restrict tenants, you are less able you are to get financing. He says College Park is an underserved retail market; there will be some national chains.

    Community members were concerned about the design looking bland in the initial slides–it’s not a compatible and distinct design philosophy specific to our college town.

    Community members wanted this project to be really cutting edge–something we can all be very proud of. Something that will change the perceptions people have about our town.

    The benefits of the discussions have been discussed in terms of improving the town-gown relationship.

    Concerns about affordability for graduate students were mentioned. Doug Duncan said a graduate student plan will be unveiled in a few weeks.

    Andrew Friedson mentioned the fact that not all the undergraduate beds are being replaced; Laura Moore mentioned her and Andrew’s plan of having an undergraduate living-learning program with academically focused undergrads on east campus.

    Lastly, people brought up big picture issues, like building for the future, the university’s involvement in the community, what we will think of the project 10 years from now, and how the purple line’s alignment will affect its odds for funding.

  2. An update to my comment:

    The architecture critique was offered by the dean of the architecture school, Garth Rockcastle. There are also a number of other people on campus who would prefer another architect than StreetSense because of their reputation for formulaic design.

  3. I think Robert A. M. Stern’s book: “Buildings and Towns” should be required reading for the entire East Campus team. (I am personally sending a copy to Doug Duncan)

    Go to a B&N or Borders and check it out. Some of the towns in there will almost take your breath away – and yes, there are several college projects in the book. These projects are so well done they have become tourist destinations in and of themselves. I hope to see CP go from a place people want to escape as quickly as possible to a place where people want to come stay and hang out.

    Lets not limit ourselves or put ourselves in a box. (especially not a “big box”…..sorry – pun intended – couldnt resist, it was right there) Lets bring in the likes of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company ( http://www.dpz.com/projects.aspx ) and really do this right and build something special.

    We are the flagship university for one of the greatest states in the country – a university reaching world class stature. no reason why college park (located less than 10 miles from the nation’s capital) cant be an international destination.

  4. I think people are going to have to accept that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Making it distinctive is important and can be achieved I think without huge additional costs. That being said, a lot of the folks on the steering committee need to come down to earth on the economic realities of a project of this scope.

  5. Also – Outside Magazine’s March issue is “The Green Issue” and they outlined a bold futuristic view of a more green / eco friendly Manhattan. (I tried to find a link but they do not put the content on line so you have to buy the magazine – David and / or Rob, email me and I will snail mail you the article for your academic research) Some of the concepts in there should be considered.

    I would love for East Campus to make a buzz internationally for some novel, forward thinking design concept so people will want to come check it out. (and stay in the hotel, workout in the gym, dine in the eateries………)

  6. David, why should the steering committee come “down to earth”?

    The university is the client. The steering committee represents constituents that the university is hoping to accomodate (residents, students, faculty, local business owners, etc). The developer has to work within the constraints of what their client requests, not the other way around.

  7. I attended the meeting that was held at the end of January (I could not believe how jam packed the room was – it is very clear this project is very important to a lot of people) and the question of capital constraints due to our nation’s current credit crunch came up.

    Since I was sitting in “the peanut gallery” I could not speak but wanted to contribute the following: there are plenty of investors out there who are always looking for a good investment. Given our housing crunch, given the stable nature of the university (it is not going to shut down or be bought out and relocated to Charlotte NC), and given the stature of the university and how this project is badly needed in relation to the campus’ long term goals and strategy – East Campus represents a sound investment. I believe the entire corridor from The Beltway south to Queens Chapel is a sound investment. I dont think we should stop at East Campus. Downtown and the Knox Boxes also offer a very attractive investor value proposition. If they can make Hyattsville redevelopment viable then there is absolutely NO reason we cant make it happen.

    I for one believe investing at a high level to create something really unique would go a long way and the ROI would be compelling. I just wish East Campus was “bundeled” with a broader Route One Corridor Revitalization / bigger picture and then pitched to investors on the street (Wall Street). We have the capabilities and relationships to do this. I hope we dont miss the opportunity and wow, I hope we dont “half – *ss it” (Id rather wait a while longer if we need to for conditions to improve)

  8. I just want to say, thank you for covering the developments of this important project. Keep it up!

  9. The East Campus development, though maybe will be seen as productive in the future, will hurt the university now. Any student that is currently enrolled in the university will never the finished development during their undergraduate studies. Instead, each student will see the construction and the inconvenience that the east campus development will cause.
    For the many students living in houses on fraternity row, construction will take place right behind it. How would you like to live in a house that had a crane in your backyard? It’s very unappealing and noisy. People look at the University of Maryland, College Park as a beautiful campus. Now, they will drive down Route one and see construction all along the east side. Traffic, which is already bad enough as it is, will only get worse at a university which pretty much has only one direct route in (route one).
    Significant housing will be taken away while the development is in process. New Leonardtown along with the apartments behind it will be knocked down, adding to an already difficult housing crisis. Students are going to be forced to move farther and farther off campus into areas that aren’t as safe as the areas near the university where emergency telephone lines and police are seen often. Dormitory space on campus is very tight as it is, and the scramble to acquire housing in places such as Knox boxes or college park towers is going to be rough.
    Many people already see parking as a problem. Well, with the construction of the new east campus, it’s going to get worse. All those lots for workers on the east side of route one and any lot behind frat row will be removed per the construction. Where are these students going to be displaced to, Comcast? This is going to create another huge inconvenience for students who already scramble hard to obtain parking spots somewhat near where they live. Also, by forcing more students to park on campus, this probably will cause more traffic on the slow moving roads that go through the university.
    By knocking down this housing, the university possibly will admit fewer students during these years into the college. Is it really fair to the high school students who want to attend this university that they no longer can come here due to some off campus construction? The school will lose a lot of money in this aspect, and the atmosphere of the university will suffer as well.
    This project is going to cost between 500 and 700 million dollars. As a freshman undergrad, I would rather see that kind of money be put toward other things, such as enhancing other programs, or making it possible for more students to be admitted to difficult limited enrollment programs. It’s not fair for the current students to have to make a sacrifice for students down the road. It’s a major commitment and a major inconvenience for people who will never get anything out of it.

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