Officials Break Ground on City Hall Project
By Liam Farrell
City of College Park and University of Maryland leaders, including UMD President Wallace J. Loh (center right), broke ground Friday on the new City Hall project. The completed project, shown in an architectural rendering below, will feature outdoor seating, retail space and offices for the city and the university.
Describing it as a physical reminder of the partnerships reinvigorating College Park, state, university and city officials broke ground Friday on a new City Hall project that will alter the face of Baltimore Avenue.
“It represents so much change for College Park,” said Mayor Patrick Wojahn. “It symbolizes our commitment to economic development and jobs and bringing new life to our downtown.”
The new building will stand at the intersection of Baltimore Avenue and Knox Road. It’s designed to be open and inviting, with government offices, council chambers, an atrium and community meeting space spread across 33,000 square feet, and the university occupying another 45,000 square feet. Located at the former site of businesses such as Subway and Smoothie King, the building will also have 7,000 square feet of new retail space on the ground floor.
The facility will be centered around a public plaza with outdoor seating and landscaping and have environmentally sustainable water and energy features. The approximately $47 million project is scheduled to be completed in late summer 2021.
UMD President Wallace D. Loh said the new building will house some of the most important administrative functions of the university and be a key piece of the “renaissance of College Park.”
“It’s all of us working together,” he said at the groundbreaking ceremony.
The new City Hall is the latest project in the collaborative Greater College Park initiative, which is harnessing $2 billion in public and private funds with the aim of creating one of the best college towns in the country. Supported by The Hotel at the University of Maryland and the coming 16-mile light-rail Purple Line, Greater College Park has sparked additions ranging from federal agencies and new tech startups to Target Express, The Hall CP and Vigilante Coffee.
The next step will be signing retail tenants who can entice every part of the College Park community to work and shop in the new building, said Ken Ulman, the university’s chief strategy officer for economic development.
“That’s our goal and obligation,” he said. “This is a really big deal.”
While the project was originally conceived in 2014 as solely a new city office building, the current plans are a testament to bringing together all members of the local community, said Prince George’s County Councilwoman Dannielle Glaros.
“It’s the epitome of the relationship between the University of Maryland and city of College Park,” she said.
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