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Maryland Politics
Posted at 07:06 PM ET, 09/06/2011

New off-campus housing opens near U-Md.

Prince George’s County officials joined with University of Maryland President Wallace Loh on Tuesday to open a $97 million high rise, off-campus apartment building that will house undergraduates.

The Varsity, the third privately developed off-campus housing project to open in the past decade near the College Park campus, also will have street-level retail, including three restaurants, officials said.

The rent on apartments at the Varsity, which require 12-month leases, is about $950 per bed, said developer Donnie Gross of Potomac Holdings.of Bethesda The project is expected to bring the county about $1.7 million in additional taxes annually.

On-campus room and board for nine months is about $9,500.

The University of Maryland at College Park Foundation kicked in $15 million in a bridge loan to help the developer get financing for the new building.

Prince George’s County offered a waiver of a $1 million water system development charge. County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D), said the development and others nearby will help spur other development along Route 1, where he is also backing a project a few miles south of College Park to bring in a Whole Foods, as well as condominiums.

Loh said the development of new, high-end student housing and the retail will help “make College Park a top-20 college town.”

County Council member Eric Olson (D-College Park), who was instrumental in helping put the deal together, said he expects it to be “a real catalyzing project” for redevelopment along the Route 1 corridor south of the Beltway.

The 900-bed building includes apartments with kitchens, a common area, individual bedrooms with their own bathrooms, as well as fitness facilities and other amenities.

By  |  07:06 PM ET, 09/06/2011

 
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