Aviation Landing Project Joins University With County and Private Partners
By Liam Farrell
Photo by John T. Consoli
In the latest effort to continue the reinvigoration of College Park, the University of Maryland and government and private partners today announced plans to transform the area near College Park Airport into a vibrant hub of housing and amenities linked to public transit.
The Terrapin Development Company (TDC), the university’s economic development arm, is working with 4 Castles and Mosaic Development Partners to build the project, Aviation Landing, on a Prince George’s County-owned parking lot bordering Campus Drive and next to the Junior Tennis Champions Center. It marks another step in strengthening the university’s Discovery District, part of the $2 billion Greater College Park initiative to turn the city into one of the nation’s best college towns.
The airport is the world’s oldest in continuous operation and the former base of the Wright Brothers, a history that has excited UMD President Darryll J. Pines, an aerospace engineer, since his recruitment visit 30 years ago.
“Developments such as this and those throughout the Discovery District and Greater College Park are transforming the area’s economy by creating thousands of jobs and attracting dozens of companies,” he said at a news conference on the site. “I have often wanted this area to fully reflect the potential that brought me to College Park, and Aviation Landing helps fulfill that original vision.”
TDC previously selected Philadelphia- and Prince George’s-based Mosaic to redevelop the Old Leonardtown community into graduate student housing. The 4 Castles company, which owns two fire-safety businesses on the site, will contribute to the project its properties next to the county land.
Construction on the parking lot is the anticipated first phase of a 1.3 million-square-foot project that will ultimately include more than 900 residential units (including some designated as affordable housing), open space, retail and commercial research and innovation space. When completed, the county expects Aviation Landing to create an estimated 2,700 full-time, permanent jobs and generate $370 million in annual economic output.
Officials at the announcement said the development will connect with existing amenities such as Lake Artemesia Natural Area and the Northwest Branch Trail, as well as the Metro and upcoming light-rail Purple Line.
“We are focused on transit-oriented development, because it will reduce traffic and increase pedestrian access,” said Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. “When we focus on placemaking and reduce sprawl, we preserve the natural beauty of our community.”
Groundbreaking could occur within two years, with the first phase opening in the next four years, said Ken Ulman, the university’s chief strategy officer for economic development and TDC president.
“This area was at the cutting edge of aerospace engineering for decades and decades, and now there’s a rebirth,” he said. “We are going to work in collaboration with our partners … to make sure this airport is as vital today as it ever was in the past.”
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