A new development slated to bring 1,920 full time construction and 464 full time retail and food service jobs, 995 units of housing, 22,000 square feet of office space, 168,000 square feet of retail, a 120 room hotel, and the first Whole Foods market to Maryland's second most populous and largely African-American County has stalled because of what City Council members are calling fabricated letters.
The Cafritz family redevelopment plan, which aimes to rezone a 36-acre residential area at the intersection of three municipalities in Prince George's County, has its supporters and opponents among political leaders in University Park, Riverdale Park and College Park, home to the University of Maryland and IKEA.
Supporters believe redevelopment will be an economic boon for the area and create new jobs while attracting high-end retail once Whole Foods settles in. Opponents do not believe the plan follows smart growth principles with the redevelopment zone being more than a mile away from public transport and increased traffic on the adjacent Route 1 becoming an issue.
After the PG County planning department rejected a detailed Cafritz proposal last month, after having approved the rezoning earlier in 2012, Cafritz's attorney submitted letters of support for the plan from three influential local players to a recent University Park City Council meeting. Without signatures of approval from their purported authors, the letters have thrown another wrench in the redevelopment debate.