November 2012 Development Update


The City of College Park has released its bi-monthly newsletter covering local development news.  Highlights from the latest edition include:

Domain at College Park

Mowatt Lane & Campus Drive

Status: Under Construction

Mixed-use residential development will have 256 multi-family units and 9,061 square feet of retail space. The first units are expected to be ready for move-in by summer 2013 with all units completed by summer 2014.  Four tenants are close to signing leases to occupy 5,181 SF of the ground floor retail space: Subway, Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt, Gateway Newstands, and Casey’s Coffee.

More details about the proposed retail businesses at the Domain can be found in this document.

Best Western

8419 Baltimore Avenue

Status: Under Construction

The Best Western project consists of a 50-room hotel with extended-stay suite facilities on the former site of the College Park Motel. Construction began late in 2011 and the estimated completion date is early 2013.

The Best Western hotel project was covered in this recent Diamondback article.

Maryland Book Exchange

7501 Baltimore Avenue

Status: Approved Detailed Site Plan

The property is 2.71 acres and is currently home to the Maryland Book Exchange. A new student housing development will add 287 units, with a maximum of 855 beds (originally proposed as 341 units and 1,010 beds). The ground floor will have 14,300 square feet of retail, including the relocated Maryland Book Exchange as the anchor.

The redevelopment of the Maryland Book Exchange received final approval from the Prince George’s County District Council earlier this month. The approval is a result of recent compromises with the City of College Park to reduce the height along Yale Avenue, among other items. The project now consists of a six-story building on Route 1 that steps down along College Avenue.

The next step will be the submission of construction drawings to obtain a building permit. Construction could begin in the first half of 2013.

This development will join The Enclave, Mazza Grandmarc, and The Varsity as the fourth privately built student housing project to open since 2010. Along with the University View I & II buildings, those three completed projects have brought 3,458 beds to the Route 1 Corridor since 2005. As of September 2012, the occupancy rate for these units was reported at 94% by the management teams.

Details about the final approval of the Maryland Book Exchange project can be found in this Gazette article from earlier this month.

Cafritz Property at Riverdale Park

Along the East Side of US Route 1 at College Park’s southern boundary

Status : Preliminary Subdivision Review

Envisioned as a multi-phase project on 37.55 acres of land in Riverdale Park, the development team requested rezoning the property from R-55 to Mixed-Use Town Center in 2011. A vote on the rezoning request was not taken until February 2012, where the County Planning Board approved by a 5-0 vote. After numerous public hearings in April and May, the County District Council voted 7-2 in favor of the rezoning application on July 9, 2012.

The developer’s next move was to submit a Preliminary Plan of Subdivision on July 27, which is scheduled to be heard by the County Planning Board on January 10, 2013.

The first phase proposes a Whole Foods Grocery store, over 100,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, and 22,000 square feet of office space. The second phase proposes 995 residential units and a 120-room hotel.

A recap of the District Council’s approval of the Cafritz Project back in July can be found in this Gazette article.

University of Maryland – East Campus

SE Corner of Baltimore Avenue and Paint Branch Parkway

Status : Planned Project

The University of Maryland plans to redevelop 38 acres of land at the intersection of Baltimore Avenue and Paint Branch Parkway. Phase 1 of the project will occupy approximately 8 acres and is slated to include a 266-key conference hotel with 18,000 square feet of retail and a 700-space garage, two graduate student housing towers, and an additional 70,000 square feet of retail. There are also plans for a light rail station as part of the proposed Purple Line development. The University of Maryland is looking to begin construction in 2013.

This recent Diamondback article has the latest update about East Campus.

A New Logo and Slogan for College Park

City’s marketing plan consultant idFive came to last week’s Council work session and presented four brand concept proposals and asked which, if any, of the those the City should pursue. idFive may solicit more opinions from other focus groups in the city to make a final decision.

For the past several months, idfive asked more than a hundred people in the course of its research. It was a diverse survey outreach effort that was as varied in form as it was in the types of people who responded to them. A sampling of respondents included current city residents, residents of nearby jurisdictions, City and County Councilmembers, neighborhood association representatives, State Senators and Delegates, local educators, small business owners, commercial developers, University of Maryland (UMD) faculty and staff, and many more.

Please see below the four brand concepts idFive presented to the Council.

A smart place to live
Small City, Big possibilities
Smart, Naturally
College Park, Maryland

News & Notes: October 2012 Edition


2012 College Park Day

Here’s the latest roundup from the Business Beat newsletter, published every two months by the City of College Park.

Upcoming Events:

College Park Day

The 3rd Annual College Park Day will be held next Saturday, October 27th at the College Park Community Center (5051 Pierce Avenue) from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Join your friends and neighbors at this free event featuring delicious food and entertainment.

General Announcements:

College Park Farmers Markets

Fall has arrived, but you still have a few more weeks to enjoy our local farmers markets. The Downtown Farmers Market at City Hall is enjoying a successful second year in operation and is open every Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. through November 18th. The market features Miller Farms as the primary vendor, as they offer a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Bill’s Backyard Barbeque serves delicious eats, including pulled pork, brisket and salmon. Additional vendors include Heavenly Created Desserts, and Bear’s Honeypot.

The College Park Farmers Market at Wells Ice Rink/Linson Swimming Pool is open every Saturday from 7:00 AM to noon through November. The market’s offerings include local produce, baked goods, flowers, and pottery.

For those needing fresh produce during the week, The Farmers Market at Maryland is open on Wednesdays from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM outside Cole Fieldhouse through November 14th. Offerings include local produce, baked goods, meat products, and eggs among other items.

 College Park Neighborhood Business Alliance News

Formed in an effort to bring local independent businesses together, CPNBA aims to promote College Park businesses and maintain a strong, local economy. CPNBA formally incorporated as a non-profit organization in the state of Maryland and joined the American Independent Business Alliance, which helps communities successfully operate local alliances and “buy local” campaigns. The group now includes the following members: Pongo Interactive, Cromwell & Company LLC, Wood’s Flowers and Gifts, Rising Sun Auto, Jerk Pit, Fishnet, College Park Car Wash, Everyday Quilts, Honey Glow, and The Bamboo Eater.

Like Shop College Park on Facebook

The College Park Economic Development staff regularly provides updates on business openings and closings, shop deals, news, and events on the Shop College Park Facebook page. To follow these updates please visit this link and “like” Shop College Park.

Continue reading News & Notes: October 2012 Edition

Book Exchange Compromise In The Works

Book Exchange Compromise

A compromise regarding the design of the proposed 431 unit Maryland Book Exchange project may be in the works. There will be a public presentation by the R&J Company at next Tuesdays City Council meeting to present a possible alternative for the structure.  As outlined in this previous post one of the main issues has to do with the step-back requirements  towards the residential zones surrounding the property. This very preliminary rendering of the possible redesign shows a step down from 6 levels near Route 1 down to 4 levels closer to Yale Avenue. This is certainly more in line with the Route 1 sector plan.

The Prince George’s County Planning board has already given the go ahead for the project despite the strong objections of the City Council. Therefore the developer could forge ahead with the existing plan however the City had planned an appeal which could drag on the process.

More details to come in the upcoming Council Session on October 9th.




The City of College Park is…
























The City of College Park needs your help!  As part of a citywide marketing campaign we are looking for the most truthful, surprising, interesting, or little-known things about the City. Click the link below to participate by finishing the sentence: “The City of College Park is…” Submissions may be voted on and the results will be used to guide a marketing campaign to attract new residents and businesses to the City. Thank you in advance and have fun!

weBike Plans to Expand, Develop Electronic Bike Lock

At the end of the month, the folks at the weBike are planning to expand to a new university campus, and currently they are hosting a crowdfunding campaign to develop the prototype of an electronic bike lock that lets you rent and return a bike anywhere in a community.

Here’s a short 90 second video that explains what they are trying to do and a link to our campaign page. In addition, please check this recently published article in Huffington Post about the need for cost-effective bike sharing.

Also, please check out weBike’s campaign page and share the news during their 45-day effort to make shift happen:

[Fazlul Kabir is a Council member of City of College Park (District 1). You can read his daily blog at]

College Park Farmers Market – Survey

As part of the recently-formed Farmers Market Committee, the City is conducting a survey to gauge satisfaction with the current Downtown Farmers Market while garnering ideas for the Market’s future. Please take a few moments to answer the survey as the responses will enable the Committee to understand the interests of residents and develop recommendations for the future structure of the Downtown Farmers  Market.

The survey can be found here:



News & Notes: August 2012 Edition

CP phoDelite
Here’s the latest roundup from the Business Beat newsletter, published every two months by the City of College Park

Upcoming Events:

College Park Day
College Park Day 2012 will be on Saturday, October 27. If you’re interested in joining the planning committee, email cpdayevents at for more information.

General Announcements:

Buy Local and Independent Week:

The Mayor and City Council have proclaimed the week of August 12th to 18th as “Buy Local and Independent Week,” which coincides with the State of Maryland’s “Tax Free Week” for clothing and footwear. For this week, the City is encouraging residents to spend their dollars in College Park and particularly with independent businesses. City staff has compiled a list of deals for the week, which can be presented to a participating business by showing a printed certificate or smart phone version. The certificate is available here.

College Park Farmers’ Markets:

Returning for a second year, the Downtown Farmers Market at City Hall is open every Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. through November and features Miller Farms as the primary vendor. Miller Farms offers a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, while Bill’s Backyard Barbeque serves delicious eats including pulled pork, brisket and salmon. Additional part-time vendors include Heavenly Created Desserts, Honey Glow, and Shearer’s Mountain Veiw Farm.

The College Park Farmers Market at Wells Ice Rink/Linson Swimming Pool is open every Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to Noon through October. The market’s offerings include local produce, baked goods, flowers, and pottery.

A new option this year is The Farmers Market at Maryland, which is open on Wednesdays from Noon to 4:00 p.m. outside Cole Fieldhouse. Offerings include local produce, baked goods, meat products, and eggs among other items.

Shop College Park Website:

The City-run website, Shop College Park, is hosted through a cooperative effort between the City of College Park Department of Planning, Community and Economic Development and local merchants in an effort to market all that College Park has to offer. The website will undergo a redesign and upgrade in the next few months, so if you’d like to offer input on the current site please fill out this brief survey.

Continue reading News & Notes: August 2012 Edition

City Council Poised to Appeal Cafritz Development Decision

Cafritz development at Riverdale Park

In tonight’s regular meeting, the Council will vote on whether to appeal to the Prince George’s County Circuit Court of the final decision of the District Council to approve Zoning Map Amendment A-1 0018 for the Cafritz property development.

On July 12, 2012, the District Council took final action on this case and on July 18, 2012 mailed the written order of the Council to all persons of record. The deadline for appealing the decision is August 17, 2012.

The approved project includes the rezoning of 35.71 acres of property in the Town of Riverdale Park from R-55 (single-family residential) to M-U-T-C (MixedUse-Town Center) and amends the 2004 Approved Town of Riverdale Park Mixed-Use Town Center Zone Development Plan. The project, as approved, includes up to 1,915,320 million square feet of mixed-use development including retail, office, residential and hotel.

While good arguments could be made in regards to a few legal and technical issues in this case, the ultimate outcome may include a remand back to the District Council and then to the Planning Board at which time they would correct all of the defects. Based on the original 7-2 votes, it is likely that the project would again be approved. Also, the delay may cause the loss of the Whole Foods, something many residents may not prefer. Among other things, the Council will consider a modest legal cost ($25,000) and its impact on the relationship with our neighboring city Riverdale Park.

[Fazlul Kabir is a Council member of City of College Park (District 1). You can read his daily blog at]

July Development Update

The City of College Park released its regular Economic Update. Highlights include.

  • NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION: Over 800 employees will occupy the building once it is completed in August 2012.
  • MARYLAND BOOK EXCHANGE: After listening to arguments from both sides, the District Council took the case under advisement and they have until October 9 to render a vote.
  • CAFRITZ PROPERTY at RIVERDALE PARK: The District Council resumed the rezoning case on July 9 and voted 7-2 in favor of the rezoning application. The developer next plans to submit a DSP application and hopes to break ground in 2013.
  • BRANCHVILLE PROPERTY SELLS FOR NEARLY $1.3 MILLION: The 1.179 acre property is located to the east of Pizza Hut and AMF College Park Lanes was purchased by Four Thousand Four Branch Avenue LLC.

College Park Development Update – July 2012