M Square Station (River Road)
- The half-mile radius from the proposed transit station represents two distinctly different development patterns. West of the Green Line tracks is the Old Town College Park Historic District and the Calvert Hills National Register Historic District, stable communities of single-family detached homes. To the east lies scattered commercial office and industrial development complemented by parkland, an ice rink, tennis facility, and the College Park Airport. No vertical mixed-use development exists at this station site.
- The proposed Purple Line station will be co-located with the existing College Park-University of Maryland Green Line Metro station.
- Publicly owned land predominates: more than 90 percent of the land east of the station site is owned by the State of Maryland, M-NCPPC, WMATA, or the federal government.
- A joint development agreement is in place between WMATA and Manekin/Fairfield for the College Park-University of Maryland Metro Station site.
- An Urban Land Institute Technical Assistance Panel (ULI TAP) project was completed for the portion of the station area located north of Paint Branch Parkway in 2008. This TAP report envisions redevelopment of the industrial area to a vertical and horizontal mixed-use, transit-supportive community.
- The University of Maryland has begun constructing up to 2,000,000 square feet of office and research and development space in their M Square research park.
Recent Development Activity (Since 2007)
- The first two office buildings of the M Square research park have been completed along Haig Court, north of River Road (240,000 square feet).
- The NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction is nearing completion (289,500 square feet; six-story garage)
- A Detailed Site Plan proposal for three additional office buildings and a parking structure in the M Square research park (450,000 square feet) is under review.
Issues and Challenges
- Large portions of otherwise developable land are located in the 100-year floodplain.
- Nearly all properties west of the Metro tracks are located in a county or National Register historic district.
- Most of the properties near the station are within the Aviation Policy Area APA-6 portion of the College Park Airport, and are subject to certain height and notification requirements.
- Existing and proposed development in the M Square research park is not transitoriented or supportive, and lacks cohesive pedestrian- and transit-friendly design.
- Federal tenants (FDA, NOAA, Center for Advanced Language Studies) require secure compounds detrimental to pedestrian and bicycle connectivity.