How We Picture Greatness

College Park is hopping and humming with new businesses, housing and other perks. See for yourself.

FOR TERPS WHO HAVEN’T been back to campus in a while, driving on Baltimore Avenue might be more of a journey of discovery than a trip down memory lane.

It’s impossible not to notice the towering hotel across from the University of Maryland’s main entrance, a gleaming apartment complex is rising where Plato’s Diner used to be, and—wait a minute, is that one, two, three new grocery stores?

Since its launch in 2015, the $2 billion public-private partnership known as Greater College Park has revitalized the community surrounding UMD as new businesses have taken root, housing options have dramatically expanded, and retailers have set up shop.

While some recent establishments, like The Hotel at the University of Maryland and Vigilante Coffee, quickly became community fixtures, others, like the College Park City Hall and the landscape-altering Aster College Park complex, are just popping up as the transformation continues.

“All of it is part of a plan to be the great college town—the place that students, staff, faculty, parents and alumni want to be a part of,” says Ken Ulman, UMD’s chief strategy officer for economic development and president of the Terrapin Development Company, a partnership between the university and the University of Maryland College Park Foundation that is leading several Greater College Park projects.

We’ve assembled idyllic historical images and vibrant modern-day scenes for a simultaneous look back and peek forward at the blossoming Baltimore Avenue corridor. Read on to see just how much “greater” College Park is becoming.


Iribe Center and The Hotel on archival photo of circle drive by Ritchie

Archival photo courtesy of University Archives

The view over the old circular drive in front of Ritchie Coliseum—framed by a two-lane road, fencing for an under-construction football stadium and rows of corn—is now dominated on the right by The Hotel. The 297-room, four-star hotel and conference center opened in 2017 as an anchor of Greater College Park, and now houses the Visitor Center. On the left, at the corner of Campus Drive, stands the Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Engineering, a hub for virtual reality, robotics and artificial intelligence since 2019. Still in the picture? Turner Hall, now home of Conferences and Visitor Services’ welcome desk and, yes, Terp’s offices.


Archival and contemporary photos of intersection where College Park City Hall now sits

Archival photo courtesy of city of College Park

This shopping plaza might look familiar—even if most of the storefronts have changed—but the big difference can be seen on the right, where a gleaming new city hall now stands. It houses city offices, council chambers and meeting rooms on the first two floors, with UMD occupying the third and fourth. Retail space will start filling up this spring and summer, highlighted by Shop Made in Maryland, which will sell art, jewelry and home goods crafted in the state in order to support local businesses.


Archival and contemporary pictures of Baltimore Ave and College Ave intersection

Top archival photo courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration; bottom photo courtesy of city of College Park

An Esso gas station and the old Maryland Book Exchange made way for the 843-bed Landmark Apartments and Target Express building, which opened in 2015 to provide quick and convenient shopping for Terps. Also coming soon to that area is Union on Knox, a project by Terrapin Development Company and Greystar Real Estate Partners to build nearly 800 student apartments and 21,000 square feet of retail where Marathon Deli and 7-Eleven used to be. (Don’t worry—Marathon just moved around the corner to face Baltimore Avenue and is as popular as ever.)


Photos of M Square and Cybrary

The 150-acre research park formerly known as M Square left plenty of room for budding innovation, and since 2017, the area now called the Discovery District has flourished as a magnet for new knowledge and entrepreneurship. Spaces such as IonQ and the Quantum Startup Foundry reinforce UMD’s reputation as the “Capital of Quantum,” and companies like The Shed, a rehearsal studio space; Medcura, a biomedical device developer; and Cybrary, a cybersecurity startup, contribute to the region’s growing business enterprise. If all that inspiration makes you hungry, stop by The Hall CP for a bite on the patio.


Archival photo of Howard Johnson's and contemporary photo of Aster College Park apartment complex

Archival photo courtesy of city of College Park

The Quality Inn and Plato’s Diner were demolished in 2019 to make way for Aster College Park, a Terrapin Development Company and Bozzuto project bringing nearly 400 residential units and 62,000 square feet of retail, including a much-anticipated grocery store. Opening this summer, the complex will also feature outdoor dining and gathering spaces with plenty of greenery, as well as a pedestrian bridge linking two buildings.

Greater College Park by the Numbers sidebar


Archival photo of Knox Boxes and contemporary photo of Terrapin Row

Archival photo courtesy of Diamondback Photo Morgue

Many Terps fondly remember ... well, many Terps at least remember the Knox Boxes, two-story brick, budget-friendly apartment buildings on the south side of campus near Guilford Drive. The last well-worn box finally folded to make way for Terrapin Row, a student apartment building that opened in 2016. The complex features nearly 1,500 beds, along with retailers like Dunkin’, Amazon and Seoulspice.


Contemporary photos of Tempo apartments and Lidl, plus archival photo of Burger King

Top right photo courtesy of city of College Park

Up where the Clarion Inn used to be, discount supermarket Lidl debuted in 2019, adding to College Park’s growing list of grocers that also includes recent additions Whole Foods, MOM’s Organic Market and Target Express. Just across the street, another project is reaching new heights: Gilbane Development Co. is constructing Tempo, an eight-story, 299-unit student housing, parking and retail complex. Opening in space once occupied by Burger King, the building will include a swimming pool, fitness center and podcast/video studio.

New Digs

Terps will soon have a plethora of new housing options, with plenty of pools, cozy courtyards, fancy fitness centers and countless other amenities. Here’s what’s taking shape and when:

Baltimore Avenue and Calvert Road
393 units of multifamily housing
Summer 2022

Lakeland Road and 48th Street
255 student beds
Fall 2022

Baltimore Avenue and Tecumseh Street
669 student beds
Fall 2022

Baltimore Avenue and Berwyn Road
978 student beds
Fall 2022

Baltimore Avenue and Hartwick Road
951 student beds
Fall 2023

Knox Road and Sterling Place
788 student beds
Summer 2024

Knox Road and Lehigh Road
465 student beds
Under construction

Knox Road and Guilford Drive
334 student beds
Ground being prepped for construction


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