Building Up and Tearing Down: Development News

Westphalia Town Center is even closer to reality, Have you heard about the Karington Town Center in Bowie? Will PGCo get a Publix? I sure hope so. Give WMATA your opinion on New Carrollton development, NEW Krispy Kreme Donut in PGCo and more

pgco-development-small-imageTear down the  Prince George’s Hospital Center and use the space for luxury high rise condos, retail, and eateries.  That’s what I suggest. How many times will the hospital infect babies in the Neonatal ICU (NICU) before the oversight boards realize that the entire hospital is just one big medical disaster? I’ve told you a little about my horrible experience with that hospital. From billing and administration to the medical staff, everything and almost everyone we encountered was fit to be done away with. I have uuuhZERO confidence that they will find and eradicate the source of the Pseudomonas bacteria.
Westphalia screen shotWestphalia Town Center development news is all positive these days.  An industry publication reported that, “[the] 310-acre Westphalia Town Center project in Upper Marlboro, Md., just outside Washington, D.C. In a unanimous vote, the Prince George’s County Council gave the green light for the formation of the Westphalia Town Center Development District and the Westphalia Town Center special taxing district… The Council’s recent decision paves the way for the eventual issuing of tax increment financing bonds, which would yield proceeds for the financing of transportation infrastructure surrounding the mixed-use project.”  

Edward Fleming (l) Ceemac (r)
Edward Fleming (l) Ceemac (r)

I spoke with Edward Fleming, COO of Walton Development & Management North America and he assured me that the alarmist headlines from some media outlets that said Westphalia development was trying to avoid foreclosure were totally untrue.  The company issued a statement, “Walton wishes to be clear that the loan extensions…are solely the result of it looking to finance the Westphalia project in a different manner and requesting its lenders to work with the corporation to manage the timing gap between the current loan maturities and the timing of potential new financing,” the company disclosed in a prepared statement.” Mr. Fleming told me that they are working hard to bring a anchor grocery store to the Westphalia Town Center.  He mentioned they are considering Harris Teeter, Safeway, Giant, and then he said PUBLIX!!! I just about screamed. I love Publix groceries.   They have already broke ground in Virginia, but too far out for me (Washington County and Richmond)
publix-small-2The Economic Development Corporation is working on getting more grocery stores into areas of Prince George’s County that have been deemed food deserts.  “In developing an in-depth strategy to stem the tide of food deserts in Prince George’s County, the EDC is: 1) meeting with regional headquarters for grocery stores on a regular basis; 2) participating in regional and national conferences to identify and attract new grocers; 3) encouraging current grocery store chains to expand; 4) developing a list of possible backfill grocery stores from outside the area; and 5) utilizing economic development tools such as the Grocery Store Tax Credit and Enterprise Zone Tax Credits,workforce training and employment services, site tours, and attendance at the International Council of Shopping Centers Conference.  As a result of these current strategies, five new grocery stores have opened in Prince George’s County in the past 18 months, and a College Park Whole Foods will open this quarter.”
karington-district-wpost-image
courtesy Wash. Post

Karington District of Bowie, MD is one of the first items on the District Council’s agenda for Nov. 3rd. The Karrington District  is located along Rt. 214/Central Avenue, the railroad track and Rt. 301. I heard mention of this development 6 years ago so I guess this is progress. The bill on the District Council’s agenda would allocate “certain County property taxes and certain County hotel occupancy taxes with respect to the development district to be paid over to the tax increment fund as provided in the Tax Increment” and designate the Karington District as a “development district.”  From what I understand, this development almost went up in flames before making it to the table. Eventually NAI Michael emerged as the primary developer; there’s is the name on the paperwork to annex Karington to the city of Bowie and a recent report on Development Sites and Highway Projects in Bowie.
karington-park-renderingThe plan for the 362-acre development is mixed-use, of course, with a 25-acre lake. There is planned a 650,000 square feet of office use, 343,000 square feet of retail use, 2 luxury hotels, 1 conference center, and 1,239 dwelling units, including 490 multi-family apartments, 210 multi-family condominium units, 20 live-work units 120 multi-family senior units, 245 townhouse units and 154 single-family detached unit. According to a Nov. 16th report from the Community Association of South Bowie, “Councilman [Isaac] Trouth said that apartments were taken out of the plan at the Karington development.” Looks like Karington is quickly coming down the pike. The county certainly could use a walkable area like this with a huge lake, luxury hotels/conference centers and restaurants. Stories on this development go all the way back to 2003, but it looks like its really going to happen now or at least be approved to break ground. 
Tidbits:
Krispy Kreme Donuts is open on Central Avenue in Capitol Heights
Gentrification concerns voiced over Capitol Heights WMATA Development
new-carrollton-metro-developmentMetro wants your input on proposed changes to transit facilities on the south side of the New Carrollton Metrorail Station as part of a proposed transit-oriented joint development project. New Carrollton development public hearing will be held Monday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. at Fortis College in Hyattsville, located at 4351 Garden City Drive.
The proposed project concept would be constructed by a private developer and is anticipated to include approximately 200,000 square feet of office space, 250,000 square feet of multi-family residential space and 20,000 square feet of ground floor retail space. With up to 300 spaces for Metrorail commuters, the new parking garage design would also accommodate office and residential parking spaces.
  

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Comments (6)

Re Westphalia: There was something in a recent issue of the Washington Business Journal suggesting that the Westphalia developers are having some financial difficulties. You might recall that previous Westphalia developers were involved in the Jack Johnson scandals. Even though county officials preach “Transit Oriented Development” with one side of their forked tongues, when the chips are down they prefer to push for development in areas far from transit, Like Westphalia and National Harbor.
One of my correspondents points out that around the Lidl-Suitland grocery the county is pushing and claims is in a ‘food desert,” over the time he has lived nearby at least ten groceries have failed in at least seven locations, within a mile of the proposed Lidl site,

Well hopefully with the new residents coming to Suitland (fingers crossed), a grocery will succeed. IF the people want success, THEY have to be a part of the process. Suitland is a desert in a lot of ways (was thinking of food when I typed dessert-ha!). The New Carrollton and Capitol Heights developments in the works are a good place to start with TOD in the county. I haven’t been here that long, but I am amazed at how PGCo has lagged in that area.

People like that Russell person are why this County remains behind. Why even bring up Johnson? The last owners failed because they were over-leveraged RIGHT before the recession hit. Walton has and wants little to do with the past development team.
Also, do you not think that groceries failed in that part of Suitland because of dropping incomes? Oh look, incomes are stabilized and a new multi-national is interested in the area again with a business plan that might be a better fit. I guess that only makes sense if you’re not a conspiracy theorist.

glad to see the forward momentum being sustained throughout the county. good thing to have savvy people in the right seats.
also, DC Russell, please spare us the conspiracy theories or, you know, just move to a different county where you wont be so compelled to post angry rants on literally every platform available. congrats, you’re this county’s #1 internet troll and biggest detractor.

I have concerns about Westphalia & the Karington project. For one, throughout the DC region, office space that is not within .5 miles of metro are struggling. Businesses & their employees just aren’t interested in car dependent office space. My second issue is that these projects seem to be sprawl in their worst forms. PG has 15 metro stations and we are finally starting to develop them. I think we need to focus on those projects and not car centric developments. We already have more roads to maintain than our peer jurisdictions in the DC region. Individuals who live in these “walkable, mixed use projects” will be car dependent because these developments aren’t near existing transit or major job centers. If you look at Arlington, Moco, even Fairfax county, you will see them pushing for more TOD projects and not sprawl projects. I applaud the push for more mixed use walkable communities in PG. But I think we should build them at our metro & marc stations.

I understand the need to improve access to food, housing and public transportation!
What I don’t understand is why there is little to no mention of attracting academic institutions! Aside from PG College and UMD which some would say is in it’s own district and not affiliated at all with PG County, there are little to no other academic institutions serving Post K-12!
Maybe I’m alone on this but, but I would like to see Westphalia University or some additional satellite campuses for the likes of John Hopkins in the PG County area! At least this all of those new construction apartments/condos will actually get some business!

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