Business: New Development, Retro Fitness, Whole Foods Breaks Ground

CDC renews lease in Hyattsville, Whole Foods breaks ground in Riverdale, University Town Center has new retail and grocery coming, and Retro Fitness is opening up in PGCo

All in all, it hasn’t been a tragic week. Prince George’s County’s economic development is chugging along.  We still have a ways to go as it pertains to development that takes advantage of our metro stations but we are at least moving.  County Executive Baker is holding a series of listening sessions to get public input on the FY 2015 budget so go on record as saying something.  I’ll be attending virtually.  Thank God for live streaming available on the County’s Website.  The next session is scheduled for Tuesday, February 4, 2014 7:00pm, at Dr. Henry A. Wise High School, 12650 Brooke Lane Upper Marlboro, MD.  The last one is  Wednesday February 12, 2014 7pm at Laurel High School’s Spartan Hall 8000 Cherry Lane Laurel, MD.  See the flyer HERE for more information on how to sign up to speak and associated websites.
East West Highway Map ImageECHO Realty, LP announced its January 3, 2014 purchase of a 3.5 acre located at the northeast corner of East-West Highway (Maryland Route 410) and America Boulevard, at University Town Center (UTC), in Hyattsville, Prince George’s County, Maryland.   This location is also near the Mall at Prince George’s. ECHO’s development plan for the property includes 82,000 square feet of retail and office space on two levels. Safeway grocery store has leased space in the development for their 55,000 square foot supermarket, and leases are out for signature for half of the remaining space in the project.  ECHO’s development will include nearly 300 parking spaces, with 75 spaces at grade and 225 spaces atop Safeway’s building. Final design and construction documents are now being completed and contractor bidding will take place in late February/early March.  Work on the site is tentatively scheduled to commence during the second quarter of 2014; the entire development will open for business in the third quarter of 2015.  The retail space will line America Boulevard, north of East-West Highway, and will join the existing street retail program leading to the entry to Regal Cinema.  Considering there’s a metro station in this area, it’s high time development like this take place.  
Center for Disease ControlThe U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced it has renewed the lease to keep the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, MD.  Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards welcomed the announcement. “GSA’s announcement of a new lease agreement for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics to remain in Hyattsville, MD, was welcome news,” Edwards said. “The new lease keeps the Center in Hyattsville for at least the next fifteen years, contributing to the local and state economies. Not only is this a win for the community, but the agreement will also save taxpayers $29 million by consolidating lease space and allow the building to be renovated and become Energy Star certified.”
Retro FitnessFormer NFL Cornerback Leigh Bodden is opening a Retro Fitness gym in Prince George’s County.  Retro Fitness, one of the nation’s leading low-cost, high-value fitness concepts, is opening the doors to its first Prince George’s County location next week,  February 5, 2014, at 8827 Annapolis Road, Lanham, MD.  The owner and operator plans to bring a total of three Retro Fitness locations to the region in the next 24 months. The 17,500-square-foot facility provides gym members an affordable monthly membership of $19.99, access to a full collection of top-of-the-line strength equipment and cardio machines and a free mobile app intended to keep members motivated and track their goals. For more information, call 240-696-4949 or visit For a county with our obesity rate, every gym that opens up needs to be full up to the brim with resident.

whole_foods-logoAnd finally it happened this week: Construction of Prince George’s County’s first Whole Foods Market began. The store, and all the controversies that come along with it, will open in late 2015. The store is planned for a wooded property on the northwestern boundary of Riverdale Park. Washington-based Calvin Cafritz Enterprises is building the store as the anchor of a $250 million development that includes nearly 1,000 units of multifamily housing, a 120-room hotel, 22,000 square feet of office space and about 168,000 square feet of retail space.