University of Maryland Newsdesk.www.newsdesk.umd.edu
For Immediate Release
University Purchases Washington Post College Park Plant
College Park, MD -- The University of Maryland recently reached agreement on terms expected to lead to a purchase of the Washington Post's production plant, located in College Park, MD. The plant, with approximately 300,000 square feet on 18.5 acres, will provide the flexibility Maryland needs to create a multi-phased relocation of services currently housed on the East Campus site. The purchase, estimated at $12 million, must still be approved by the state's Board of Public Works, which will consider the issue at its February 10, 2010 meeting.
The acquisition also helps the University address a significant recommendation from the students and the University Senate to explore off-campus relocation options to the proposed use of the on-campus Wooded Hillock area.
"We were very excited when the Washington Post made this critical space available," said Ann G. Wylie, vice president for administrative affairs. "This facility provides the space we need to strategically and cost-effectively phase in our East Campus relocation projects, minimize environmental impacts to campus woodlands, and limit disruption to our critical campus services."
Wylie notes that "flexibility" is the key word associated with purchasing the property. According to her, owning the Post's College Park plant will allow the University to package relocation projects in cycles by renovating selected production plant spaces, then moving University services, allowing development of specific sites within East Campus to proceed. Such a plan permits the University to secure developer interest and identify partners for smaller parcels within the larger East Campus site while continuing to move the entire project forward.
Despite a tough economy, the opportunity to purchase the plant and begin to clear the East Campus of existing service operations is key to implementing the initiative for a new urban center. "Purchasing the facility is a long-term investment in one of our top goals of the Strategic Plan," said Wylie. "We know that offering a world-class educational experience is not enough to attract the best students and faculty. To be truly competitive with the best universities around the nation, we have to also provide world-class facilities and resources. It's critical that we continue to offer top students in the state and across the nation the best residential, retail and entertainment resources if we are to be a world-class university. Partnering with the community, the county and the private sector will help make that happen."
"The East Campus Redevelopment initiative remains at the forefront of our efforts to build a world-class research institution for the residents of Maryland," said Wylie. "We are confident that a multi-phased development approach that recognizes and responds to current fiscal conditions will lead to a timely and successful development of this vitally important project. When complete, the development will bring a new urban character to College Park by creating a vibrant district of retail, residential, office, hotel and entertainment uses that also will serve to stimulate downtown revitalization."
The University of Maryland's East Campus is comprised of approximately 38 acres bounded by Route 1 to the west, Paint Branch Parkway to the north, and the City of College Park to the south. Plans for the site include construction of more than 2 million square feet of graduate housing, market rate housing, office space, hotel and retail amenities.
The Post facility affords the campus a unique and important opportunity to advance its plans to create an environment in East Campus that will attract high-quality mixed-use development along the Route 1 and Paint Branch Parkway corridors, link new amenities with M Square and the downtown communities, and offer new and affordable housing for graduate students, while promoting partnership and connectivity with the City and providing an enhanced campus setting to attract the best students and exceptional faculty to the university.
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