What you should know about the vibrant stops on the Route 1 corridor right now.
Is College Park the Greatest?
In 2011, the University of Maryland and the city of College Park announced a joint vision to make the area one of the nation’s 20 greatest college towns by 2020. It was an ambitious goal for a landscape then characterized by the fact that it had been passed over by the walkable, urban development hitting other DC suburbs.
To be sure, College Park still has a way to go. But it’s made significant progress, with more than a half billion dollars currently invested in development. College Park is now a place where you can take an Orangetheory class, order a Kalita pour-over at Vigilante, hunker down at WeWork, and live in a new luxury apartment building with a pool and bocce courts. Nearly 400 more high-end apartments are planned at Bozzuto’s Southern Gateway project, and developer Gilbane is building a five-story project with 440 apartments and 12,000 square feet of retail. Developer Scott Plank, meanwhile, just opened the Hall CP, a 20,000-square-foot food-and-arts venue, next to WeWork and the Hotel at the University of Maryland.
Not all the changes in College Park have been unanimously welcomed. University of Maryland students and alums have mourned the closings of beloved old-school hangouts—for instance, the pizza joint Ratsie’s, which was replaced by Nando’s. Many fear the next big loss will be Marathon Deli, a 48-year-old stalwart in a strip mall that a developer wants to turn into apartments and retail. Students such as Stephen Kenny have voiced their opposition at city-council meetings: “A college town is a place that has tradition . . . that has a sense of community around certain institutions—and I feel like Marathon Deli is probably one of the most important ones we have,” Kenny said, according to the university’s paper, the Diamondback. Developer Greystar Real Estate Partners says it’s “working with” the deli to keep it in business. The company’s final plan for the site still needs official approval—a step likely to happen this year.
The Whole Foods Effect
The 2017 opening of massive mixed-use development the Station at Riverdale Park brought Prince George’s County’s first Whole Foods—and has since sparked a wave of openings that have enlivened the quiet town between Hyattsville and College Park. Trendy chains such as District Taco and MOD Pizza, as well as a 12,000-square-foot outpost of Silver Spring’s Denizens Brewing Co., have land-ed at the Whole Foods complex. A half mile away, the activity is spilling into Riverdale Park’s historic downtown. Recent openings there include the Vietnamese restaurant Banana Blossom Bistro and Riviera Tapas Bar. Vegan and barbecue restaurants are also coming soon.
Hyattsville was born a dry town—the city’s 1886 charter included a booze ban—but craft alcohol is helping fuel its rebirth. The most recent addition to the scene is Sangfroid Distilling, Prince George’s County’s first distillery since the end of Prohibition. It produces fruit brandies, rye whiskey, and barrel-aged gin. The brothers-in-law who run it are redesigning the tasting room to offer cocktails in early 2020.
Head a couple of blocks south on Baltimore Avenue and you’ll run into Street-car 82 Brewing Co. Opened in 2018 by three Gallaudet University graduates in a former auto garage, the spot is the first deaf-owned-and-operated brewery on the East Coast. A few more doors down is Maryland Meadworks—the first and only meadery in the Washington area and a popular live-music venue. All of the newcomers are within a quick walk of Franklins, which has been making its own beer since 2002.
Trails . . .
The Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail—a three-mile path through Hyattsville, Riverdale Park, and College Park that follows the course of an old streetcar line—opened in 2002. But it wasn’t until 2017 that a crucial missing link was added. Now the trail, which is paved and protected from car traffic, runs past many of the new shops and restaurants lining the corridor. It’s become a favorite means of exploring the area, whether on foot or bike.
Also helpful: In 2018, Capital Bikeshare arrived in Hyattsville and it has since extended into nearby Riverdale Park and other places along the corridor. College Park maintains a separate bike-share system called VeoRide, which debuted last year. And another half-mile segment of the Trolley Trail is planned in the next few years, though a construction date hasn’t been set.
. . . And Rails
The Purple Line is slated to begin service in late 2022, and though it’s been delayed several times, the buzz around its potentially transformative effect on Route 1 has spurred major real-estate moves, such as the construction of new tech-incubator spaces, high-end hotels, and thousands of new residential units. The light-rail train will stop in Riverdale Park and the Discovery District—College Park and the University of Maryland’s growing research park—as well as at the College Park Metro station, before running through the university’s campus on its way to Bethesda.