Sometimes I really miss living in DC. Yesterday, I went downtown to Marshall’s on 14th and F. What I wanted wasn’t there so I hightailed it 2 blocks down to the T.J. Maxx, but I couldn’t find it there either. Yes, I realize that these are basically the same store but let me finish. I miss being able to just walk into more options. I am a Planning Committee proponent because the members seem to get the picture that this county has to develop smart. A pretty planning picture is developing at the Branch Avenue Metro Station. Canyon Capital Realty has teamed up with Peter N.G. Schwartz and Hensel Phelps to develop the Apollo Residences at Town Center, a $93 million, 417-unit Class-A apartment project in Camp Springs, Prince George’s County, Maryland. Construction on the project began last month after Canyon Realty’s equity investment and Bank of America’s $69.2 million senior construction loan for the project both closed. The multi-family community will include six interconnected buildings ranging from four to six stories, with courtyards and an interior structured parking garage with 690 spaces. The Apollo Residences is expected to be ready for its first residents in late 2014. Yay!
The Ugly Sweater Race takes place at National Harbor this Saturday, December 21st at 9am. Race proceeds benefit the Toys for Tots Program so get registered and run with that ugly sweater, RUUUUN!!! The run is approximately 3.1 miles long The start line will have huge inflatables, photo stations, and awesome holiday music. At each mile marker of the race, you’ll find holiday themed stations where you can replenish your severe electrolytes loss with hot chocolate station on the course. Snow blowers throughout the course keep you in a winter wonderland mood. You’ll be full of sugar, coated in fake snow, and possibly cramped at the end but WHAT FUN!!! Post run festivities include two Sam Adams beer choices and other holiday goodies. Awards for best real mustache, best fake mustache, best beard, worst sweater, best sweater will follow the race. Registration is $44. Link HERE.
You won’t be buying any sweaters, ugly or otherwise, from a new Super Wal-Mart in Bowie because the Planning Committee has said “no.” HO! HO! HO! NOOOO!!!! That spot is reserved for something more upscale than a Wal-Mart. Deal with THAT. Planning staff cited in their Nov. 26 report that the proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter, which would be across the street from the Wal-Mart currently on Crain Highway, does not fit into the 2006 master plan for the area, which calls for a high-end department store and not big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart. Mill Branch Crossing, the proposed site for the store, is at the intersection of Crain Highway and Mill Branch Road and calls for a mixed commercial shopping center. “To ignore the master plan recommendation was to substantially impair the master plan’s integrity,” said Tom Lockard, planning coordinator for the Prince George’s County Planning Department, who wrote the staff report. On Thursday, the planning board sent the project to the zoning hearing examiner, who will hold a public hearing at a yet-to-be-determined date, Lockard said. The examiner has the power to approve or deny the application, and that decision can be appealed by the District Council, according to county zoning laws. This from The Gazette.
Mind you, the Bowie County Council and Bowie’s city planning staff have endorsed the new Super Wal-Mart, according to council minutes and the city staff report. But the city and the county’s Advisory Planning Board recommended the store not be approved. Stand-off. Too many boards too. Geez.
A federal contractor, Spartan Business & Technology, has quietly moved in at National Harbor. Wow. Looks like leasing space is a steal right now and the proximity to Washington, DC and Virginia is ideal. Washington Business Journal reports:
Spartan Business & Technology plan to move into nearly 7,000 square feet at National Harbor Dec. 20 — enough to accommodate its 100 employees and the 62 more that will come with an acquisition planned in 2014, according to the company. It also has the option to expand another 7,000 square feet if needed. The interior of Spartan’s headquarters at 161 National Plaza — one of three office buildings in National Harbor — was conceived by i2 Design Group, which created a contemporary space with frameless glass panel windows overlooking the Potomac River. News on office leases at National Harbor has been relatively quiet, even as the lengthy reports about the casino bid, the arrival of Tanger Outlets and various restaurant and retail openings that keep flowing. So could the area be a hot spot for contractors down the road? Not at first glance, considering that it’s catered more toward tourists and families. That said, pricing in the Oxon Hill location will dwarf rents in a lot of other areas around D.C., which could be appealing to some — particularly smaller companies that still want pretty good proximity to the federal customer. Spartan described the price tag as 50-60 percent lower than surrounding areas.
Looks like Spartan Business & Technology will be neighbors with MGM casino and all the upscale dining and retail they will bring. Greenwood Racing (Parx Casino owner), however, is trying to stop the MGM moving truck. Greenwood has requested that the December 20th public conference held by the Maryland Video Lottery Facility Location Commission to announce who gets the Prince George’s County casino license (cough-MGM-cough) be postponed. I have to admire their chutzpah. The public conference at 1800 Washington Blvd, Baltimore is going to happen and it’s really going to happen for MGM (See Post for consultant findings) . From The Gazette:
In a Dec. 12 public conference call, consultants said MGM would generate annual gambling revenue between $713 million and $719 million, while the Parx Casino would generate between $617 and $682 million and the Hollywood Casino would generate between $551 million and $560 million. One of the reasons why MGM’s National Harbor casino would have higher revenue is due to its location three to four minutes closer to core customers from Virginia and Washington, D.C., according to the consultants. Commission spokeswoman Jaclyn Vincent said in an email that the commission could choose to delay its decision, but declined further comment. Greenwood Racing CEO Tony Ricci said his company takes issue with that fact as whichever casino selected will be the only casino in that area. The documents states the casino would be in a monopoly market so it doesn’t make sense to compare travel times. Greenwood Racing CEO Tony Ricci said his company takes issue with that fact as whichever casino selected will be the only casino in that area. The documents states the casino would be in a monopoly market so it doesn’t make sense to compare travel times.