New efforts are underway to attract small businesses to Prince George’s County’s evolving Route 1 corridor.

A group of government agencies and officials is promoting a small business development competition to try to bring existing businesses and start-ups to Riverdale Park’s town center.

The winner, to be selected based on a rating system and oral presentation, will be offered an opportunity to lease from Douglas Development up to 877 square feet of retail space at below market rent. The space is near a MARC train station.

The winner also will be eligible to apply for business development funding for construction, improvements, equipment acquisition and for working capital through the Prince George’s County Economic Development Incentive Fund.

Riverdale Park’s town center, along Route 1, is north of the Gateway Arts District, a multi-jurisdictional effort to develop the area as a walkable, bikeable, and creative community with restaurants, shops and entertainment. It is also near the site of a proposed Whole Foods Market.

“This is an ideal location, between the University of Maryland and the Gateway Arts District, for a local business looking for prime commercial space,” said Howard Ways, Executive Director of the Redevelopment Authority of Prince George’s County, in a statement. “It is well served by transit and accessible from nearby major roads like Route 1 and Route 410.”

To be eligible, applicants must be for-profit enterprises with annual revenues of no more than $500,000. The competition winner must be able to fully occupy the space within one year of receiving an award. County-based businesses and start-ups will be given preference.

Proposals must be received and time stamped by the Redevelopment Authority no later than noon, July 8. The submittals must be sealed, and the outside envelope must be clearly marked “Riverdale Park Business Development Competition.”

An open house for prospective applicants will be held at 3 p.m., June 6 at 4609 Queensbury Rd., Riverdale Park. It is the only scheduled session in which potential applicants can ask questions. Attendance is not required.

The contest is sponsored by Riverdale Park; Prince George’s County Redevelopment Authority; County Council member Eric Olson (D-College Park), whose district encompasses the area; and the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation.

More information is available here.