A parking lot-turned-housing project is on deck for College Park, where the University of Maryland’s real estate arm is zeroing in on an $85 million development near its Discovery District.
The public parking lot near the College Park Airport and the College Park Aviation Museum borders Campus Drive next to the Junior Tennis Champions Center. The university’s 1.3 million-square-foot vision for what it's calling Aviation Landing — named for its proximity to the historic airport, a former home base for the Wright Brothers — includes market-rate and affordable housing, retail, and commercial research space.
The next step, said Ken Ulman, Terrapin Development Co.’s president and UMd.'s chief strategy officer for economic development: Acquiring the property this spring from its owner, Prince George's County. Ulman said the land price is being negotiated. Spokespeople for county didn't respond to requests for comment.
The deal is not yet scheduled to go before the County Council, Ulman added, but will need to at some point.
Terrapin Development, a joint venture created by the university and the University of Maryland College Park Foundation, is working alongside Philadelphia-based developer Mosaic Development Partners and the 4 Castles LLC — the latter owns two properties occupied by fire-safety businesses next to the county-owned land and will contribute those properties to the development.
Mosaic appears to be fairly new to Greater Washington. Per its website, it was awarded rights to develop the "Gateway Parcel" at Bowie State University last year, but does not cite any other D.C.-area projects.
Aviation Landing is part of the university’s efforts to revitalize the College Park area, a $2 billion initiative to attract corporate partners and startups and spur economic development, spearheaded largely by Terrapin Development's real estate strategy. The site is walking distance of the College Park Metro Station and will have a bus connection. The developers are also banking on the opening of the 16.2-mile Purple Line, which will extend from Bethesda to New Carrollton with five stations located near the University of Maryland campus.
The first phase of construction for Aviation Landing, slated to include 250 residential units and 30,000 square feet of commercial, is expected to start in 2024 and deliver by 2026, Ulman said.The project will eventually grow to an estimated 900 residential units and potentially additional commercial, creating an estimated 2,700 permanent, full-time jobs, per the university.
As for the airport and its associated museum, those "will be enhanced by better connecting them to the broader community via new ‘complete streets,’ pathways, and better district signage,” Ulman said in an email. “We look forward to collaborating with the airport, the museum, and UMD on programming opportunities as well, to really bring the new development to life.”
The chronically delayed Purple Line is now expected to open in mid-2027, The Washington Post reported in January. The Aviation Landing site is partially torn up as part of that construction effort.
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