Golfers 1, Shopping Mall Developer 0
By Torleif Sorenson on 10/24/13

Saved by popular demand and gobsmackingly simple logic

Yesterday, we told you about an imbecilic plan to demolish the University of Maryland Golf Course and replace it with an upscale shopping center, an access road to the Capital Beltway, and faculty housing. We also told you about the mass outrage over that plan from residents, university students, golfers, and politicians.

It is time for us to rejoice.

In a shockingly fast reaction, Brian Gibbons, CEO and chairman of developer Greenberg Gibbons, sent a letter to University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh dated yesterday. In his letter, he wrote the following:
Dear Dr. Loh,

In response to your letter of October 14, we have been finalizing and planning to unveil a concept plan to create a Terrapin-themed parkway and Academic Village that would help create a world-class gateway to the University, while addressing mounting traffic congestion on Route One and other local roads.

Recently, some elected officials have come out in opposition of our idea, although none of them have seen our conceptual plan. As someone who loves the University, it was never my intent for this concept to become a political football or have the University become embroiled in political theatre.

As a result, we have no present plans to submit either our concept plan or a development proposal to the University. Instead, as suggested by several stakeholders, we will devote our energies toward further analyzing the development challenges facing Route One and to consider how we might be able to contribute toward coming up with beneficial solutions.

I look forward to supporting any and all efforts to help make the University a world-class institution in every way.

Best regards...and Go Terps,

[signed, Brian Gibbons]
As a result of the world-class developer's world-class backpedaling in the face of world-class opposition to his ridiculous plan, the public-access University of Maryland Golf Course, the junior golf program and teaching academy, and the course's Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary are all saved from being paved over with concrete.

To golfers, the people with, area residents, and elected officials in and around the Capital Beltway: Thank you — and 1,000 points for each of you! Well done!

To University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh: Get a clue, sir. Get out of your ivory tower and take up the game — then you might understand.

The developer's "world-class" backpedaling letter

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Image via University of Maryland Golf Course

[ comments ]
jasonfish11 says:
So will he slash the golf courses budget next year?

What do you mean you need to use 1,000 gallons of water a day. You are budgeted for 25 gallons.
Torleif Sorenson says:
Jason: There are so many thousands of people who are involved with Save UMD Golf Course that I think it will be impossible for President Loh to pull a stupid stunt like that.

BTW, your "63-0" crack yesterday was hilarious.
mustang6560 says:
As my barber says, "If you can ever afford to buy land, do it because they're not making more of it." It's no surprise golf courses in urban areas such as UoM are targets of developers, and in my opinion, it's not imbecilic for a developer to want to make lots of money.
mjaber says:
I see both sides of the issue. The open space, and Audobon Sanctuary are definately things to be protected, what about the economic boost something like the development would provide? Nobody saw the plan, so there is no telling what the impact on traffic would have been. The jobs that would be created, not only by the demolition/construction, but also the finished product would have been an increase over what the course can provide, and the tax revenue to the city and state from the development (I assume) would have been higher.

I don't care one way or the other. I'm just trying to offer another perspective on the situation.
Torleif Sorenson says:
It certainly is not imbecilic for a developer to want to make money, but in the face of the overwhelming criticism of the plan, at least Mr. Gibbons was smart enough to focus his energy on Route 1, which needs help anyway.
Matt McGee says:
The guy had a good idea, presented it, and was given a resounding "no" from many of the concerned parties. He backed away from the controversy quickly enough not to be named a villain, and is focusing his resources elsewhere. Sounds like a pretty smart guy.
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