RIVERDALE – The much-anticipated opening of the Whole Foods Market at Riverdale Park Station in Hyattsville is on the horizon. Residents should expect Whole Foods to complete store construction and stocking by mid April, according to Bruce McLeod, the attorney for The Cafritz Family, the developers of Riverdale Park Station and owners of the property since 1954.
Upon completion of the project, Riverdale Park Station is expected to generate more than 450 jobs, approximately 750 new households, and $75 million in real wage earnings, according to the development’s website. The new Whole Foods will be the first in Prince George’s County, a feat that has been heralded by county leaders.
The new store could also help to fill nutrition needs in the community. For more than three years, the United States Department of Agriculture has labeled areas of Prince George’s County a food desert, meaning residents may have limited access to fresh foods. Portions of both the city of College Park and the town of Riverdale Park are in food deserts, with areas surrounding the University of Maryland at a food insecurity rate of 20.9 percent.
Proponents of the project believe Whole Foods Market, whose slogan is “We believe in real food,” can play a role in fixing the food desert problem.
“Whole Foods will be a tremendous amenity in Prince George’s County,” Prince George’s County Councilwoman Dannielle Glaros said. “It’s bringing jobs, a quality store, and helping to anchor revitalization along Baltimore Avenue.”
McLeod could not specify what other tenants would fill the rest of the property’s commercial real estate, but did note that they are preparing a formal announcement to be made soon.
However, the H&R Retail’s website, which touts the development as sitting on a “desirable trade route,” which is strategically located, already lists Gold’s Gym, Burtons Grill & Bar and Starbucks as anchor tenants at the location.
The site plan on the H&R website also includes listings for MOD Pizza, Bell Beach Spa, Xfinity, Habit Burger, Jersey Mike’s, Old Line Bank and White Oak Therapy. Future plans also include a possible Hyatt Hotel.
Brad Frome, assistant deputy chief administrative officer for Economic Development and Public Infrastructure, was able to tour the site on March 10 and praised its quality.
“I really want to compliment the developers,” Frome said. “When the site opens, and everyone can go in and visit, I think they will be impressed by the quality of the finished product. It really reflects positively on the investment this project represents in the community.”
Glaros also spoke highly of the impact the project will have for the community. As an example, she pointed to the story of Jose, the new customer services manager at Whole Foods Market.
“I had a chance to meet Jose, who used to work at their Vienna store, but lives in New Carrollton. His commute was an hour and 20 minutes; now it will be only fifteen minutes, leaving him more time to spend with his family. That’s what this project is about, bringing more jobs and amenities back to Prince George’s County,” she said.
Whole Foods, in addition, has started listing Riverdale Park store jobs on its website and are currently hiring cashiers, dishwashers, cooks, housekeeping team members as well as a meat and seafood team member and a cake decorator.
In addition to the 168,000 square feet of commercial real estate, the Riverdale Park Station will offer residential properties. The plan for the 37-acre, 1.4 million square foot development details a variety of uses including a 120-key hotel, more than 100 town homes and 875 apartments.
The townhouse models will also open this spring, McLeod said.
The Cafritz Family pledges to observe sustainable principles on this site, including easy access for residents and visitors to the Metro system at College Park, the MARC system at Riverdale Park and the future Purple Line station on River Road. The developers also pledge to achieve sustainability through rainwater irrigation and heat island efficient materials.
Plans include green spaces and an update to the local Trolley Trail. It will be the first LEED Neighborhood Development in Prince George’s County.