The Purple Line will dramatically change the existing landscape in College Park, with 5 stops serving the city and an estimated 17,000 rides/day. It is important that the Art-in-Transit station designs reflect our vibrant and strong community. In April 2017, the Purple Line Partners released artist proposals for each station along the Purple Line.
Here is information about each stop servicing College Park — and the current art proposals. If you have comments on the art proposals, please this link. Public input is sought until May 20, at which point an Artist Selection Committee will review the station options and community input.
ADELPHI/UMUC (Review and comment here)
The area around this stop is home to the University of Maryland University College (UMUC), an institution for non-traditional age students, where much of the curriculum is online. The Department of Defense has a long-standing relationship with this institution, and members of the U.S. Armed Forces across the globe take courses through UMUC.
It is also home to the Marriott Inn and Conference Center and it is the closest stop to the southwest portion of the University of Maryland, College Park including to Ludwig Field, home of the soccer team, and the Art/Sociology Building, the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and the Robert Smith School of Business.
This area features one new private mixed-use development, the Domain, with 256 luxury apartments and several shops – including a coffee shop and a newsstand/convenience store. It is also walkable from the newly opened 1,500 bed off-campus student apartment community, Terrapin Row. We expect more redevelopment to come to this area in the future.
CAMPUS CENTER (Review and Comment here)
This is the Purple Line stop in the heart of campus. It is adjacent to the Student Union (and near a bench featuring alumnus Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog). It will also be near the legendary Cole Field House, the longtime and beloved basketball arena, which is being repurposed into an impressive Center for Sports Medicine, Health and Human Performance, and Academy of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. This $155 million renovation features an indoor football training facility and research on human performance, concussions, and more. It will open in 2018. The McKeldin Mall, lined with historic academic buildings, and large oak lined walkways, is just to the south.
Another new academic building, the Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center, is under construction nearby. This 180,000 square foot building features 22 State-of-the-art classrooms and labs, 1,830 instructional seat spaces, and 3 cafes. It will serve 14,000 people peak daily. It will house both the Academy of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Teaching and Learning Transformation Center. Opening 2017.
With 28,000 undergraduates, 11,000 graduate students, and 10,000 faculty and staff, this is a major research university with top-ranked programs across disciplines. In academics, research, and athletics, the University of Maryland is accomplished and continues its incredible progress. The University is in its second year in the Big 10 Conference.
EAST CAMPUS (Baltimore Avenue) (Review and Comment here)
This stop sits just steps away from Ritchie Coliseum and “The Hotel at the University of Maryland” under construction. It also sits across Baltimore Avenue from the oldest building in College Park, the Rossborough Inn, built in 1798 – 1812, and which served travelers on the then “Washington and Baltimore Turnpike” toll road, the major north-south route from the Colonial Days through the Interstate Highway system of the 1950s and 1960s. We call it Baltimore Avenue because we are trying to reclaim the road as our local “main street.” But it is also known as “Route 1” – the road that connected Maine with Florida. In College Park, we are redeveloping the sites of outdated one-story buildings, the motels of the mid-20th Century automobile age, the auto dealerships and roadside restaurants and diners. We are becoming more urbanized and less suburban as we move to a more walkable, bikeable area with more density.
This stop will serve the new Hotel and Conference Center, and visitors to College Park. It will also serve as the stop for downtown College Park, and as the Purple Line station where people traveling up and down Baltimore Avenue will connect to the light rail. It will be seen and used by people throughout the corridor from miles away. The stop is in a prominent location.
The area is also at the doorstep of the University’s developing “Innovation District,” which will be home to the many start-up businesses in technology, engineering, physics, computer sciences, and more, that are developing out of research at the University. The Innovation District will include a co-working space, and an indoor/outdoor food, arts, and entertainment hall. This will feature a performance stage, a kitchen that will allow a variety of restaurants/culinary chefs to be featured in this space, and indoor/outdoor dining.
In the immediate walkable area of this stop, we have seen incredible redevelopment – including hotels, restaurants, hundreds of market rate apartments, student apartments, and several other art houses, coffee houses, and entertainment venues.
COLLEGE PARK METRO STATION (Review and comment here)
This area will soon look quite different. It is transitioning from a disjointed, inhospitable place for pedestrians where there are some office buildings and industrial space, to a 24-hour community of housing, jobs, and retail. Several redevelopment projects are in the works, including two mixed use apartment buildings, one by Gilbane Company, which will be on the Metro station parking lot (430 apartments), and a 370 unit building just to the south of Gilbane, being developed by the Ronald D. Paul Companies. In addition, just across Campus Drive from the Metro station, Prince George’s County owns a 2-acre lot that they have bid out for mixed-use development. Today, office buildings include the FDA, the Center for Advanced Study of Languages, and others. Between 6,000 and 7,000 jobs in technology, data analytics, physics, climate and earth science, language, intelligence, food safety and more will ultimately be located between this Purple Line stop and the next stop to the east.
The College Park Airport, located a short walk from this stop, is the world’s oldest continuously operating airport in the world. It is called the “Field of Firsts” for the many aviation firsts that occurred here. Wilbur Wright trained Army flyers how to fly the government’s first airplane here, as only one of many examples of aviation history that occurred here. The College Park Aviation Museum, affiliated with the Smithsonian and located at the airport, is a treasure of American Aviation history.
In addition to the College Park Metro station, with its heavy rail Metro trains that are part of the Washington, DC regional rail system, there is also a Maryland commuter rail station (“MARC”) which runs between Union Station in DC and Camden Yards station in Baltimore.
The nearby College Park Junior Tennis Champions Center (JTCC) is a premier facility, where top tennis talent is fostered. The youngest professional tennis player in the world ranked in the top 100 is Francis Tiafoe, who grew up at the JTCC, and is considered a future tennis star. He has played in the French Open and U.S. Open, won the U.S. Junior National Championship and the Orange Bowl. Nearby bike trails, pool and ice rink provide recreation.
M SQUARE/DISCOVERY DISTRICT (Review and comment here)
This Purple Line station is located in the neighboring town of Riverdale Park, just over the line from College Park. The M Square Research Park, which is part of the University of Maryland, lies in both College Park and Riverdale Park. The Town of Riverdale Park is named for Riversdale Mansion, located in the town. The land associated with the Riversdale Plantation included most of the area – in fact, the University of Maryland sits on land that was initially carved out of the plantation and given to the State of Maryland for the Maryland Agricultural College.
Part of the history of this area also includes aviation. In addition to the College Park Airport, there was an airstrip in this area as well. It served the ERCO Company, which mass produced small, easy to fly “Ercoupe” planes for recreational pilots in the mid-20th Century. Its long-vacant factory was torn down in the last several years.
College Park Academy, a public charter school started by the University and City of College Park, is making its permanent home near this stop in the coming year. It is an advanced school and an innovative curriculum. Their “flipped classroom” includes doing “homework” in school, and viewing lectures online.
The M Square area will become an increasingly important job center for science, technology, engineering, computing, national intelligence, language, climate and earth science and more. Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT), is building a new speculative office building for future tenants. Click here to read more. Between 6,000 – 7,000 jobs will ultimately be here. Today, there are offices of USDA, NOAA, Raytheon, and the American Center for Physics, among other companies large and small.
A new 36-acre mixed use development will be connected to this area by a new bridge over the railroad tracks at Rivertech Court. “Riverdale Park Station” is under construction and will feature 1,000 housing units including 120 townhouses, 200,000 square feet of retail, including a Whole Foods grocery store, and a Hyatt House hotel.