Vacant building across Route 1 in north College Park

In last Tuesday’s work session, the Council discussed some important findings from the 2010 College Park Resident Satisfaction Survey in relation to the list of the ten most wanted business types in the city.

According to the survey result, the list ranges from a grocery store to a gift card shop, provides valuable information for staff to use in discussions with property owners, brokers, developers, and business owners. With multiple retail vacancies across the city, a plan to match vacant spaces with these desired businesses is also an important step. Within the city limits, there are 270 storefront retail spaces that amount to 1,372,278 square feet.

There are currently 31 vacant retail spaces in the city, not including vacant spaces with signed leases, totaling 95,267 square feet. As a whole, the vacancy rate in College Park is only 6.94% compared to the national vacancy rate of between 9-10%. Many of the vacant spaces are small and would require significant improvement in order to accommodate some of the businesses listed.

In order to assess the interest of businesses in College Park, staff routinely reaches out to business owners and tenant brokers. Over the past few months, staff has also attended three retail conferences that included discussion panels and networking opportunities. While some of the businesses have expressed interest in relocating here, there are often obstacles, such as the difficulty in obtaining a liquor license or the lack of suitable space, that prevent this from happening.