A “transformative” $110 million redevelopment project near the southern end of College Park is scheduled to break ground in 2018, said Ken Ulman, the chief economic development strategist for the University of Maryland’s College Park Foundation.
The project is a collaboration between the university’s College Park Foundation, Bozzuto — a local real estate development and construction company — and Willard Retail, according to a news release.
This redevelopment plan, which will include more than 100,000 square feet of retail space, upscale housing and restaurant space where the Quality Inn and Plato’s Diner currently stand, is part of the Greater College Park vision, a three-pronged approach focusing on campus developments, public-private research collaborations and downtown projects, Ulman said.
Although specific retailers have not yet been named for the project, the site will also be anchored by a grocery store that “everyone agrees that College Park needs,” said Peter Weiler, University Relations vice president and UMCP foundation president.
“We’ve had our eye on that site for some time, and mostly because it’s just very strategic,” Weiler said. “It’s going to have an enormously positive impact on College Park and the campus. It adds a great more retail space and [will attract] some national brands and some great local brands. … We want a mixture there.”
Many retailers in the Washington area and in other university communities want to relocate to this local market, but the area does not have the necessary real estate available, Ulman said. However, the site will allow an influx of retailers, restaurants and other amenities to enter the city’s market. The site will also include space for 300 luxury apartments geared specifically toward faculty, staff, young families and other non-students, Ulman added.
The UMCP foundation, along with Bozzuto and Willard Retail, will take possession of the site in February 2017, Weiler said, and the groups will begin preparation “almost immediately.”
The Bozzuto development company, which is located in Greenbelt and has worked on similar plans near Catholic University in northeast Washington and Baltimore, will model this project after projects in these locations, while aiming to produce an “innovative” product, said Jeff Kayce, a Bozzuto vice president and a 2003 alumnus who majored in architecture.
Bozzuto developers will primarily be working on the housing portion of this plan, but are the master developers for the project. They will also collaborate with their partner on the project, Willard Retail, to create a “spectacular” retail-pedestrian experience on the street.
“We’re very excited about the proximity to campus and what’s happening along Route 1 with the Purple Line coming, and some of the great things that are happening to the Baltimore Avenue corridor,” Kayce said. “This is really beginning to become what we think is necessary [to attract]folks that are not a captured audience of undergraduate students. … It’s certainly not going to be a student housing project.”