Harris Teeter may be interested in opening a grocery store in downtown College Park, according to the executive vice president of the company that leases the property.
Robert Schwenger of JBG Rosenfeld Retail said that Harris Teeter is one of several grocery stores that has shown recent interest in building at the College Park Shopping Center, south of Hartwick Road. Schwenger visted Thursday's Calvert Hills Citizens Association meeting to gauge the community’s interest in having a mixed-use development, including a grocery store, built on that property.
College Park resident Leo Shapiro said the possibility of such a redevelopment is worth exploring.
“Residents and elected officials will all be excited about it,” Shapiro said.
City Councilman Robert Day (Dist. 3) said he thinks residents along the U.S. Route 1 corridor would appreciate having a specialty grocery store.
“It’s one of the items we’ve been missing in the area,” he said.
Schwenger emphasized that the idea for the redevelopment is very much in the early stages, and it's not definite a project will move forward. If it does, specifics—like what kind and how much residential space is included in the project—have yet to be determined.
Two weeks ago, of a wooded property in Riverdale Park, which would allow developers to build a Whole Foods Market, office and retail space, and almost 1,000 residential units about a half mile away from the College Park Shopping Center.
Day voted to oppose the rezoning request by the Cafritz developers, expressing concerns at the Jan. 3 meeting about the density of the project and its potential impact on U.S. Route 1 traffic.
If developers pursue a mixed-use project in downtown College Park, traffic will still be a concern, he said.
“Anything we do on Route 1, we have to be very conscious about traffic,” Day said. He said that this location is close enough to the University of Maryland, so students wouldn’t have to drive on U.S. Route 1 to get there.
It's also within walking distance for University Park and Calvert Hills residents, Shapiro added. And unlike Cafritz, trees don’t have to be cut down and the property doesn’t need to be rezoned in order for the development to move forward, he added.
The Central U.S. 1 Sector Plan designates the property for a mix of uses that are predominantly nonresidential on the ground floor. It’s also designated as a walkable node, meaning it's pedestrian-friendly and transit-oriented.
Day said that if redevelopment of the area does move forward, he expects the City of College Park would work with neighboring University Park and Riverdale Park, .
“We want to build out College Park … I would like to see opportunities within College Park. We have to look at all opportunities that we have also,” Day said.