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Development Update: Best Western, Domain and Koons Ford

Best Western College Park

The latest developments in College Park include the pending completion of the 50-room Best Western and the mixed-use Domain at College Park, as well several other new projects in the planning phase.

Best Western Plus
8419 Baltimore Avenue
Status: Opening April 2013
The Best Western Plus, a 50-room hotel, is a project by Vasu, LLC on the former site of the College Park Motel. The Detailed Site Plan for this development was approved on July 9, 2007, but the motel structures were not demolished until October 2011. Construction is nearing completion and the hotel is now accepting reservations for nights beginning in mid-April. Initial rates range from $136 to $160 per night.

Koon’s Ford Redevelopment
8315 Baltimore Avenue
Status: Review of Detailed Site Plan

A Detailed Site Plan submittal was accepted by Park and Planning on January 9, 2013. The submittal shows plans for a 156-room Courtyard Marriott hotel, 24,530 square feet of ground floor retail, and a 293-space parking garage.

The DSP will be reviewed by the City’s Mayor and Council at the April 2nd worksession. Keane Enterprises is the developer for the former automotive dealer’s property.

Maryland Book Exchange (DSP-10028)
7501 Baltimore Avenue
Status: Approved Detailed Site Plan

After more than a year of working through the entitlement process, the redevelopment of the Maryland Book Exchange received final approval from the Prince George’s County District Council on November 13, 2012. The approval is a result of compromises with the City of College Park to reduce the height along Yale Avenue, among other items. This portion of the project, which faces lower density uses, will be three stories with a flat roof as opposed to the originally planned five stories. The project now consists of a six-story building on Route 1 that steps down along College Avenue.

In order to obtain a building permit, the applicant’s next major step is the submittal of construction drawings. Construction could begin as soon as mid-2013.

Purchased in November 2010, the property is 2.71 acres and is currently home to the Maryland Book Exchange. The new student housing development will add 287 units, with a maximum of 855 beds (originally proposed as 341 units and 1,010 beds). The ground floor will have 13,844 square feet of retail, including the relocated Maryland Book Exchange as the anchor.

This development will join The Enclave, Mazza Grandmarc, and The Varsity as the fourth privately built student housing project to open since 2010. Along with the University View I and II buildings, those three projects have brought 3,458 beds to the Route 1 Corridor since 2005. As of September 2012, the occupancy rate for these units was reported at 94% by the management teams.


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  1. anon

    How many more hotels does this city need? When are we getting a nice grocery store (a Harris Teeter, a new Giant, or even a Trader Joe’s?) within walking distance of the downtown district? Why not try to lure the Whole Foods away from the Cafritz tract? Or how about some nice townhomes like what we see in Hyattsville down the road? If a hotel is to be built, why not try to at least build one closer to the Metro? This city needs more walkable amenities and a nice grocery store along the main campus corridor of Baltimore Avenue would be a huge addition to College Park. A new hotel at the Koons site, next to, by my count, two other hotels, is a waste of a great location and I’m afraid it shows a lack of vision for our city. I am very disappointed.

  2. Robert Catlin

    Various developers have pursued locating a more upscale hotel near the University for the past decade or more. Non has been successful in getting a project to the detailed site plan phase untill this proposed project at the Koon’s site. Other developers are currently pursuing projects in the Route 1 corridor that involve hotels, apartments, grocery stores, student housing and townhouses. About everything but condominiums. Property owners have the absolute right to pursue the project they feel is best for their site. We have a lot of developable sites in the Route 1 corridor, so eventually we should get everything we want, although it may not occur in the order that some may want.

  3. Marina Dullnig

    I, too, find it hard to believe that College Park is in need of yet another hotel. Unless, of course, the developers did their homework and know for sure that all out Rt. 1 hotels are full at all times.

    Secondly, the new proposals seem to be very greedy of space (“urban architecture”?). I understand, it’s money. However, placing the new buildings so close to the road means not looking 10-20-30 years ahead. Rt. 1, as it is now, is a 30-mi/hr traffic disaster squeezed by new construction. If College Park is being developed as an “urban” area, the major road needs to be treated like, well, a major road. Don’t you feel the road is suffocating when you drive between University View/Varsity and the C.P. Fire Department? Why are Pennsylvania Ave downtown DC and Rockville Pike at Midpike Plaza at least four (4) times as wide as our Rt. 1? Because there was meant to be traffic and breathing space and development. Are we doomed for stagnation because the road will soon become impassable?

    Thirdly, why CVS?!? There are two of them, one is .9 mi on Rt.1 at UM and one is 1.2 mi on Greenbelt Rd. A grocery store walking distance from the high-rises would eliminate so much unnecessary student traffic. The two closest Giant stores are 1 and 3 mi away, Shoppers is 1.7 mi away. Trader Joe’s would be wonderful. Any grocery store for that matter is better than a CVS.
    Thank you.

  4. Robert Catlin

    All of College Park’s hotel/motels are more than 20 years old. Many are on the way out. They are not full and their business declines each year. After the Koons’ project, we are likely to see three to five more new hotels by 2020.

    The Koons’ project is being located near Route 1 as is required by the County. Koon’s is actually pushing it back two feet more than the County mandates, but has a good reason for it. Route 1 will NEVER be widened to allow for more traffic lanes.

    Thousands of communities want new grocery stores. Few will get them. Of those that do, most will come because of developer or community subsidies. Cafritz can get a Whole Foods because it can give a Whole Food’s what ever it takes to get them to sign a contract. Why another CVS? Probably to keep the competiting drugstores away. The CVS will at least capture a lot of the local student business. There is still another 12,000 square feet of retail space to fill at the site.

  5. adelphi_sky


    Like Robert said, there are a lot of old hotels and even more motels that have been the subject of prostitution rings. The news hotels will complete a phase out of those older more 60’s era motels and hotels. As UMD continues to gain popularity and with the new inclusion into the Big Ten, there will definitely be a need for hotel rooms. As far as widening Rt. 1, I’m not sure it would be a good idea. Most people are against more traffic anyway and to widen Rt. 1 to 6 lanes would invite more traffic. There are current mass transportation plans in the works as far as the Purple Line. And perhaps we could convince DC to extend the street car along Rhode Island, Ave, straight up through Hyattsville to at lease College Park Metro to alleviate the burden on Rt. 1. Bike lanes are in the works to encourage other forms of transportation. There are tons of streets in DC where there is retail and only a two lane road.

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