Despite Residents’ Concerns, Some Students Approve of Cafritz Project

The Diamondback interviews residents and students who reflect on the positives and negatives that the mixed-use development in Riverdale Park could bring to the area, if rezoning is finally approved.

Days before what could be the final Prince George’s County District Council hearing devoted to the rezoning of the Cafritz property, students and residents of College Park reflect on the potential positives and negatives of the project, in The Diamondback.

The Cafritz family seeks to have its approximately 37-acre parcel on the north end of Riverdale Park rezoned from single-family detached residential (R-55) to mixed-use town center (M-UTC), easing the way for the construction of more than 900 units of housing, a 35,000-square foot Whole Foods, a 120-room hotel, and additional office and retail space. The location of the property is just south of the Calvert Hills neighborhood in College Park.

“Traffic is just going to be overwhelming,” College Park resident Kathy Bryant told The Diamondback, echoing the concerns of many that the project will worsen the traffic on U.S. Route 1.

But The Diamondback cites students who say the development could be a positive project for the area, including senior Drew Carroll.

“This will bring more businesses to the area and it will give students more options on where to shop,” he said.

Some have said they’re concerned that the Cafritz project could stifle success of the future in College Park, which will build retail, housing and a hotel at U.S. Route 1 and Paint Branch Parkway. But College Park’s economic development coordinator told The Diamondback that from an economic perspective, both projects would benefit the area.

Read the full Diamondback story here.

The hearing is set to continue Friday at 10 a.m. Follow College Park Patch for live updates.

What do you see as the main positives and negatives of the Cafritz project? Do the positives outweigh the negatives? Tell us in the comments, and let us know whether you're a resident or student.

Jon Rybka-Wachhaus May 10, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Then what do you believe is the answer Christian James? Those of us in the are are tired of having very limited options. I am supportive of a place that will have better options for College Park "Permanent" residence, such as myself. While I do not think a overly expensive grocery store such as Whole Foods is the best option (I prefer to have something such as Harris Teeter, which has both the higher quality and still be lower in prices) it is better then the options we have (Giant & Shoppers -- both which have seen better days).
Christian James May 10, 2012 at 06:42 PM
As I've said, I think there should be more grocer's or market options in downtown College Park, like a Trader Joe's or something that size - or even something like WaWa which had staples and some fresh produce. That could fit in a space like the old Ford dealership lot - although it doesn't really matter where because there is quite a bit of vacant space around. If you really have to know, Jon Rybka-Wachhaus, I live in North College Park so I do my shopping at Shoppers and My Organic Market. I guess my standards are not as high as yours. I suppose if I lived in the southern end of town that the Hyattsville Giant and Yes! would be my closest options; as it happens, I have shopped at both a few times. But as far as the bigger picture goes, I'm not against Whole Foods, I am just skeptical about the Cafritz development. The developers keep dangling "Whole Foods" as bait to allow a huge development that could end up having limited success (a la University Town Center).
Jon Rybka-Wachhaus May 11, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Christian James, I never said anything about your standards being lower or higher then mine. I actually live in the Hollywood are myself. I am simply stating that Giant (in Greenbelt) and Shoppers (literally across the street) are not the best in my own opinion. I am entitled to my opinion as are you and I feel we should focus on perhaps a Harris Teeter or a Trader Joe's before we try for something like Whole Foods.
Danny May 11, 2012 at 03:29 PM
well, whole foods has signed a lease; harris teeter and trader's joe's have not. in fact, many area residents have spent a lot of time trying to advocate -- in an organized and professional manner -- for trader joe's in the hyattsville/CP area, but TJ's turned them down.
HyattsvilleCouldBeBetter May 12, 2012 at 05:42 AM
I would argue that while there are far better locations to put this development, if it were to be built it would be a nice shopping center, which is more than I can say for 70% of the strip malls rotting in College Park. The problem with a market in downtown CP, is that there is no free parking. I think the best use for the space would be a public park, but this is private property, and if I had to choose between some single family homes or a whole foods ( which has a hot food buffet so people don't need a kitchen at home to shop there) I choose whole foods. It is well within walking distance of downtown college park btw. And they would provide shuttle to metro which would be awesome. UTC in Hyattsville may not be bustling with vibrant walkers but it is a nice looking development, and is definitely better than an empty parking lot or a church. This area needs something to breath life into it and IMHO adding newer shiner developments throughout the region will facility positive growth. Add more bike trails and capital bike share stations and we could really make this area into something special.


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