A Courtyard by Marriott, CVS Pharmacy and additional retail establishments are set to break ground this spring on a lot that was once home to the Koon’s Ford dealership, according to College Park’s most recent development update.
The development plan, called College Park Place, incorporates a 156-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel, a 275-space parking garage and 23,615 square feet of retail at the corner of Route 1 and Berwyn House Road. College Park’s second CVS location will be the anchor. With College Park Place expected to open in late 2015, the developer, Keane Enterprises, is optimistic about the business that proximity to the campus will bring.
“To us, it seems like you’ve got this great demand generator in the University of Maryland,” said Andy Shuckra, a vice president at Keane Enterprises. “To the naked eye, current real estate assets don’t serve appropriately the university. To put it politically correctly, the neighborhoods around the university could offer more.”
While District 1 Councilman Fazlul Kabir agrees, he also said there’s a greater need for alternative kinds of business.
“The [Courtyard by Marriott] will be a high-end hotel, better than the average chains along Route 1,” Kabir said. “It is better than seeing the lot empty, but a sit-in family restaurant would have been a good place, or a high-end grocery store like Trader Joe’s or something the community could benefit from. But we can’t push the business people to do certain things. We just look into the proposal and we approve it.”
But Shuckra said the development meets the area’s needs.
“College Park Place is going to bring a few things,” Shuckra said. “It’s going to bring new, high-quality hotel rooms within walking distance of campus, and there’s a shortage of that. At this point, convenience stores and other retail might be a little sparse for some residents. Our lease to CVS and other retailers is going to be great for students and residents who live across the street and in the neighborhood.”
Brett Sussman, a freshman accounting major, agrees.
“I think this project will help service the community,” Sussman said. “Adding business and hotels can help boost the local economy and provide jobs.”