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Council to Get an Update on City Hall Project

At tomorrow’s Council meeting, the City Council will get an update about the status of the City Hall project.

For many years, the idea of constructing a new City Hall has been discussed. Two reasons are given to build a new City Hall (1) to add adequate office space for City staff and (2) to provide larger community space.

Back in 2014, the City Council discussed 3 sites for the possible locations of the future City Hall. They include the current 4500 Knox Road site, the Calvert Road site and the Stone Industrial site in north College Park. On November 25, 2014, the City Council took public testimonies from residents about the future location of the City Hall. A motion to delay the selection until all possible options failed (voted 3-5). Later, in the same meeting, the Council voted 5-3 to select the Knox Road location over the Calvert Road School location.

In 2015, City staff and the University of Maryland held a meeting to review design options for a joint development on the City Hall block between Baltimore Avenue and Yale Avenue. A conceptual design was presented before the City Council worksession in August 2015. According to the concept plan, a single building with a 30,000 SF City Hall and 45,000 SF of university offices would be built. A significant public plaza would occupy the Route 1 frontage and approximately 10,000 SF of retail could be accommodated initially on the ground floor of the university offices. A small amount of surface parking would be provided on site with most of the parking provided in the existing garage.

City Hall - UMD Office

City staff determined that it would be helpful to retain a real estate development consultant to assist the City with negotiations. Accordingly, HR & A was retained in August 2016 and has provided advice on an appropriate project delivery process and structure. Acquisition of the remaining two lots on Route 1 has been delayed. In April, the City advertised a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a Development Project Manager and received six responses. These proposals are currently under review by the City and UMD and a recommendation for contract award will be made shortly. Once a Project Manager is on board, a detailed project schedule will be prepared and steady progress should be maintained.

In 2014, the estimated cost to build City Hall was $7.9 million. City’s request for a two-year extension of a $0.4 million State Bond Bill was approved and will give us until June 2019 to expend funds for design and construction. It is anticipated that the project will take 3 – 3/5 years to complete.

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