By Samuel Antezana
For The Diamondback
The University of Maryland and St. John Properties are partnering to create a multi-functional development in Riverdale Park to meet the needs of technology companies that are attracted to the university and city communities.
“What we are trying to do is provide a product with a platform for advanced tech companies to be able to work within a more flexible environment,” said Sean Doordan, the vice president of acquisitions at St. John Properties. “We want to give companies the ability to have a versatile work space, where they can work on all their projects.”
Doordan said the development is specifically geared toward high-tech businesses focused on engineering, computers and virtual reality, among others. The development’s spaces will allow various types of tech companies to work on any project, and it won’t be required to go to a special building for a specific project, he added.
“This particular type of product is not readily available nearby,” said Carlo Colella, vice president for administration and finance at this university. “These companies need a combination of office space and open space, which traditional products do not usually have.”
The development is focused on attracting high-tech businesses partly because they have a strong connection to the university, Colella said, and many of the programs students are graduating from pertain to careers related to those companies’ specializations.
Nestor Cotton, a senior electrical engineering major, said the project could help students in the future.
“This will give [graduate] students more opportunities if they are interested in working for one of those companies,” Cotton said. “This will also allow the university to step up and compete with other research facilities.”
Colella said he believes the city will also benefit greatly from the types of companies the development will attract.
“We expect the local economy to benefit, as well as the university,” Colella said. “There have been a variety of companies that have communicated to us that they want to stay close to the university, and this product will allow them to finally be able to do so.”
Construction is expected to begin toward the end of the year and finish in late 2017, Doordan said.