Maryland board approves surplus of 10 college properties for city, campus revitalization


Maryland’s Board of Public Works approved the surplus of 10 University of Maryland properties Wednesday for an ongoing community redevelopment project known as the Greater College Park Initiative.

The university’s president, Wallace Loh, took the podium at the Maryland State House to show his support for the project and the Terrapin Development Co., a recently created limited liability corporation, which will develop and manage the real estate on the edges of the College Park campus.

“We are not in the real estate business,” Loh said to the board, which includes Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. “However, we are in the business of innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Loh told University of Maryland’s Capital News Service that with the transfer of these properties to the Terrapin Development Co., the university can continue its work to foster “an innovation hub” as well as a desirable place to live and work.

“To make sure that this mission of the university will outlast us here,” Loh told the board. “We want to institutionalize it and that’s why we’ve set up this LLC, that will enable us to do business at the speed of business and will continue long after we’re gone.”

State Sen. James Rosapepe praised the revitalization efforts. The senator represents Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties and serves as the chair of the College Park City-University Partnership.

Rosapepe said these projects were born of the same broad university plan that included the construction of the Purple Line light rail and of College Park Academy, a charter school that opened its doors this year.

Before Loh came on the scene in 2010, Rosapepe said, the university in College Park was like “an ivory tower, isolated from its environment.”

“Frankly, sometimes, we’re hostile to the community and that led to a situation six or seven years ago where only 4 percent of university faculty and staff lived in College Park,” Rosapepe said.

But now, the college and the city are partners, Rosapepe said.

“The city is the check and balance. When the city and the university come together, great things happen,” he said. “When they go in different directions, either nothing happens or bad things happen.”

Many of the surplussed properties are on the east side of Baltimore Avenue, “an area of campus that years ago was the back-of-the-bus operations — parking lots, auto repair, aging student housing, old warehouses,” said Carlo Colella, University of Maryland’s vice president for administration and finance.

At this time, there isn’t a specific building-by-building proposal for the 10 properties that have been surplussed, Colella said. But they are all essential to the continuing redevelopment.

For now, step one — the surplus — is complete. Step two comes in 45 days, when the board will vote on the official transfer of the properties to the Terrapin Development Co. The company, which is operated by the university and its foundation, can acquire, develop, lease, manage, and sell real property.

The following are surplus properties approved for transfer at Wednesday’s meeting:

–UMD land (southern wing of service building, 7757 Baltimore Ave.)
–Parking lot (immediately east of Ritchie Coliseum, 7675 Baltimore Ave.)
–4505 Campus Drive
–4608, 4610, 4624, 4642, 4644 Norwich Road (Old Leonardtown Road)
–4425 Campus Drive (Bldg. 11)
–7761 Diamondback Drive (Bldg. 6)
–8320-8400 Baltimore Avenue
–Parcel C (immediately northeast of The Hotel at UMD, 7777 Baltimore Ave.)
–Parcel B (immediately north of The Hotel at UMD, 7777 Baltimore Ave.)
–4100, 4103, 4109 Metzerott Road

By Julie Depenbrock
Capital News Service

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