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A rendering of the proposed project planned by the University of Maryland and a team of developers at the southern edge of the College Park campus. (Design Collective)

UMD plans $110M project on edge of College Park campus

The University of Maryland has unveiled plans to radically overhaul the southern edge of the College Park campus.

Bozzuto, Willard Retail and the University of Maryland College Park Foundation are partnering to redevelop an existing Quality Inn and surrounding business on 3.5 acres of land into a $110 million grocery-anchored, mixed-use development.

“A vibrant downtown college town has always been part of [President Wallace Loh’s] vision, and this particular piece of property is one we’ve had our eye on, just strategically, for many years,” said Peter Weiler, vice president of university relations and president of the UMCP Foundation.

This development is inspired by a similar project Bozzuto completed in Washington, D.C., which provided a boost to the neighborhood surrounding Catholic University. The goal is to create a “town center” atmosphere with 300 luxury apartments. Officials hope the apartments will be an attractive place for faculty members, possibly with young families, to live.

The project will also play a big role in creating a college town vibe in the area by providing 100,000 square feet of retail space with a mix of national and local tenants. Weiler said the planned retail space will double what is currently available in that area.

“If you want people to live, work and play you need somewhere to shop and that’s going to be really important,” he said.

An entity formed by the three organizations in the partnership is set to acquire the property early next year. Construction is slated to begin in 2018.

The development is part of the university’s Greater College Park initiative aimed at turning the area into one of the nation’s top college towns. Organizers want to make the area a more enticing place to live and to convert the town into a tech hub that retains graduating students and businesses launched at the university.

Toby Bozzuto, president and CEO of the Bozzuto Group, said his firm’s plans will transform the southern gateway between the campus and town.

“Bozzuto… is interested in getting involved in projects that have the ability to transform an area, or to make a positive benefit upon the area we’re doing the project. It’s very rare that a developer has the opportunity to do large scale projects that can be transformative and we’re very excited to have this opportunity,” Bozzuto said.

A variety of major projects are in various stages, including one to acquire land from a fraternity to develop more student and faculty housing to the construction of a conference center and hotel.

There have also been efforts to create interest in projects farther from campus, such as the proposed redevelopment of the College Park-University of Maryland metro station. Planners say such projects will take advantage of the town and university’s mass transit access that link them to the broader  D.C. metro area.