The Boom Gets Bigger

Greater College Park's Openings Reach New Peak
By Lauren Brown | Photos by John T. Consoli

Greater College Park is gaining greater speed.

A flurry of commercial amenities, academic buildings and startup ventures are opening this fall along the Baltimore Avenue corridor and into the Discovery District, the research-rich area that stretches up to River Road.

More than 30 such projects are under way or have already opened through $2 billion in private and public investments to revitalize and strengthen the campus and surrounding community.

“Exciting transformations are under way as part of the Greater College Park initiative,” says Ken Ulman, the university’s chief strategy officer for economic development. “We are proud to work with city, county and state leaders, as well as private-sector partners in creating an innovation ecosystem and more vibrant community for all to enjoy.”

Here’s your cheat sheet for the latest—and where to stop by this semester:

The Hotel at the University of Maryland

Anchor of all the redevelopment, the 10-story, 297-room luxury hotel and conference center right across from the campus’ main entrance opened Sept. 8, along with three of its restaurants: the Old Maryland Grill, Bagels ’n Grinds and Potomac Pizza. (Kapnos Taverna will follow Sept. 25, and the Red Door Salon & Spa will arrive in early 2018.)

The Diamondback Garage

A glassed-in startup hub in the hotel’s 850-space garage will house the Capital One Innovation Lab, a partnership with umd that will advance work in data analytics, machine learning and cybersecurity. Other tenants include Immuta, a private-sector data management firm, as well as the university’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, UM Ventures and Do Good Accelerator.

Cole Field House

The dedication of the indoor football facility in the new Cole was held Aug. 2, along with the groundbreaking ceremony for the 43,000-square-foot Center for Sports Medicine, Health and Human Performance, a collaboration with the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore to accelerate research in sports medicine and traumatic brain injury into clinical practice. Other components of the revitalized Cole will include two outdoor practice fields, other football program facilities and the Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Vigilante Coffee Company

Opened at the start of the semester at the site of the old No. 1 Liquors between University View and the Varsity apartments, this specialty brewer, which has a shop in Hyattsville and sells to stores across the D.C. area, promotes education and sustainability. Its new location features an exterior mural depicting “From Seed to Cup.”

The Association of Writers & Writing Programs

This organization, which fosters literacy achievement, moved last month from George Mason University in Virginia to office space in the Discovery District, bringing 25 jobs. It is expected to partner with humanities programs at the university.

Art Walk

A public space in the Discovery District’s research park opened this summer with sculpture installations, a food truck dining garden, and a shady cluster of hammocks, all with beautiful views for employees, students and visitors to enjoy. Art Walk is across from 5801 University Research Court, an office building under construction as part of a joint-development partnership with Corporate Office Properties Trust (copt).

MilkBoy ArtHouse

A partnership between a Philadelphia entertainment company and the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, this eclectic restaurant opened in April with outdoor seating and launched live performances this month. See the calendar here.

College Park Academy

The public charter middle and high school, which operates in partnership with the university and focuses on blended learning, has moved to a new permanent home at the corner of River Tech Drive and River Road.


This $40 million development, a partnership between Choice Hotels and Southern Management Corp., replaces a long-vacant auto dealership. The standalone store and pharmacy is scheduled to open this fall, with Cambria Hotel and Suites to follow.

Lotsa Stone Fired Pizza

The fast-casual restaurant opened in July in the former Toll Bros. sales center in Terrapin Row on Knox Road.


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