State university officials took an early step Friday in approving a high-end hotel and conference center that is expected to be a cornerstone of a major redevelopment plan for the University of Maryland, College Park and its surroundings.
The university envisions a 300-room hotel with at least 10,000 square feet of conference space, as well as retail and restaurants, for an underused parcel of land, known as East Campus. The town of College Park has many budget hotels but lacks something more luxurious.
The University System of Maryland Board of Regents approved a plan to sell 3 acres at U.S. 1 and Paint Branch Parkway on which the hotel will be built to the College Park Foundation, its fundraising arm. The foundation will then negotiate with the hotel's developer, Southern Management Corp. founder David Hillman.
University officials said selling the land to the foundation will reduce the university's risk if the project falters, yet allow it to maintain some control over the hotel. The sale requires approval by the state Board of Public Works, among other steps.
The hotel, which would also have a bar, structured parking and a swimming pool, is seen as the first phase of a plan to redevelop the 22-acre East Campus, which university officials have sought to do for a decade.