GREENBELT – At a breakfast forum hosted by the Prince George’s County Chamber of Commerce Friday morning, county officials outlined the county’s economic plan with $7 billion in new projects opening in the next 3-5 years. David Iannucci, a senior economic development advisor for County Executive Rushern Baker III, said the county is has targeted […]
GREENBELT – At a breakfast forum hosted by the Prince George’s County Chamber of Commerce Friday morning, county officials outlined the county’s economic plan with $7 billion in new projects opening in the next 3-5 years.
David Iannucci, a senior economic development advisor for County Executive Rushern Baker III, said the county is has targeted four major areas to focus on for economic development: health/bioscience, ICE Technology Aerospace & Space, business service and the federal government.
Iannucci said some projects are already underway and can be seen by residents, such as the new hotel and conference center in College Park across the street from the University of Maryland campus, the new Towne Centre at Laurel and a Whole Foods grocery store located in Riverdale.
The new projects will exhibit sustainability and challenge other businesses to stimulate development, Iannucci said.
David Harrington, CEO of the Prince George’s County Chamber of Commerce, said the county is the epicenter of growth for the state. He describes Prince George’s County as the voice of wealth, assets, structure, and economy growth.
“We cannot leave this time of prosperity without allowing residents and other businesses to be a part of the coming wealth,” said Harrington.
Harrington said that all of the business owners present should be happy about what is happening in the county because “we are on the cusp of transformation.”
“Prince George’s County has a top five priority metro station and fast track, a transforming neighborhoods initiative, strategic use of incentives, and great institutional resources such as University of Maryland and federal agencies,” said Harrington.
At the forum, Brian Banks, MGM Grand National Harbor’s director of government affairs, presented a slideshow outlining the progress in constructing the new casino since construction began in 2014. Those in attendance were able to see a time lapsed display of what the casino will look like when it is finished in 2016. The presentation also included a view of the MGM Grand National Harbor’s patio, pubs, suites, and its front and side entrance facing the National Harbor.
Banks said 100 percent of the electrical work is complete and 24 percent of architectural work is built.
“In 2016 there will be 100 different job classifications at the casino. We have already begun launching careers and filling positions with a set goal of $50 million in wages,” Banks said. “What’s most important is that many of MGM Grand National Harbor’s construction workers are from Prince George’s County.”
Future projects that are still in the works for the county are the FBI headquarters, the Regional Medical Center and the Purple Line.
The FBI has selected two Prince George’s County sites as potential locations for their new consolidated headquarters, with the federal General Services Administration expected to make a final decision next year.
“The FBI is looking into local space in Greenbelt and Landover Mall and will announce their decision in the summer of 2016. But it is definite that the FBI is coming to Prince George’s County,” said Iannuccii.
As far as the new medical center, the Planning Board discussed the detailed site plan at a recent meeting and Governor Larry Hogan has committed to funding the project.
Franklin and Harrington agreed that other challenges for economic development in the county include local wealth and participation, especially with minorities and workforce development.
“We have to get serious about businesses investing in our county. We need that funding so that we can create a better workforce, community benefits, and use for capacity. It is our time to become an economic destination,” said Franklin.
Many of the local businesses present at the forum were pleased about the changes transpiring in the county.
Thomas Farasy, chief operating officer at Glanz Inc, said there’s a lot going on in the county and he was pleased with the event’s turnout. He said the forum highlighted the benefits of local businesses becoming a member of the county’s chamber of commerce and showed how everyone can be aware of the new forthcoming opportunities in the county.
County Council Chairman Mel Franklin assured the local businesses that there are opportunities for the prosperity to be shared amongst them all.
“We want to make sure the older businesses can benefit too and help our county become the economic engine of Maryland,” said Franklin.
He also said the county has learned from previous projects that they need to create destinations that people want to visit.
“People are attracted to places where businesses are located and schools are nearby,” Franklin said. “We were behind in development trends but we learned that we need to create great places for our residents and be on the cutting edge.” le=’font-family:”Times New Roman”,”serif”‘>Since County Executive Rushern Baker III has been in office, Alexander said, the police department has gotten funds for new cars every single year. As that continues, he said, the county’s police department will not be in this position again.