A College Park development company shared preliminary plans for a new development in the city’s Discovery District at the city council’s virtual work session Tuesday.
Terrapin Development Company, a joint organization between the University of Maryland and University of Maryland College Park Foundation, presented general development plans for mixed-use buildings on plots of land located near The Hotel at the University of Maryland.
The area, which used to house campus maintenance buildings, is across from the Iribe Center.
The project aims to connect the city with the university campus and foster economic growth in the area, said Ken Ulman, Terrapin Development’s president.
“This is a place where the community, the city and the university come together at a very important intersection,” Ulman said. “[It’s] helping to continue to create an engine for job creation for our region, the state and certainly the county [and city].”
The Board of Public Works has approved the development itself, but the specifics have not been finalized.
Currently, plans indicate the parcels of land planned to be used in the project will house several mixed-use buildings — including office, retail and living space — and a green pavilion area. The office and retail space in one of the parcels is expected to total over 500,000 square feet, according to city documents.
Mayor Patrick Wojahn said he supports the inclusion of green space in the development plans.
“It’s all pavement now… I think making it a little less concrete and pavement would really enhance the appearance of it,” Wojahn said.
Wojahn also suggested Terrapin Development Company consider putting a “defining” building in the corner of the development to complement the architectural style of the Iribe Center.
The residential parts of the development could partially be targeted toward graduate students, Ulman said.
District 3 council member John Rigg said he would be interested in seeing other residential options offered as well, including “modestly priced undergraduate housing.”
“With regards to the residential structure itself, I think I’m supportive of a lot of things at that location,” Rigg said.
District 1 council member Fazlul Kabir urged Ulman to consider making the development inclusive to College Park residents, some of whom once expressed a desire for a town center on the site.
“Our residents, especially longtime residents, desire to have something catering to [them],” Kabir said. “You do have some flexible options to incorporate some of the ideas the residents… had when they were thinking of having a town center.”
During the planning process, Terrapin Development hopes to work with the city to ensure the development enhances existing features like College Park bike trails, Ulman said.
Wojahn is looking forward to the progress of the development, he said.
“I think it really combines some of the classic architecture of the city and modernizes it a little bit too, and I’m excited about the mixed-use aspect of it,” Wojahn said.