COLLEGE PARK – County officials are hoping for an economic development boom here now that two plots of land adjacent to the College Park Metro station are up for sale. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has issued a request for proposals as it begins its search for partners to develop the land around […]
COLLEGE PARK – County officials are hoping for an economic development boom here now that two plots of land adjacent to the College Park Metro station are up for sale.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has issued a request for proposals as it begins its search for partners to develop the land around the current College Park Metro Station and garage, according to Stan Wall, WMATA director of real estate and planning.
“People ask me what is the big difference about this location compared to our other locations. The difference is that this is the first time that (Prince George’s County and WMATA) have come together in this way to make sure that we have a unified vision,” Wall said. “This time we want to be more accessible to pursue joint development at the College Park station.”
WMATA is offering two parcels of land surrounding the station, Wall said, totaling 5.7 acres. The site consists of the service parking lot, Wall said, as well as the bus loading zone.
Development of the area is essential, Wall said, because of the surrounding area which includes the University of Maryland campus, a research park and a planned 13-story luxury hotel and convention story.
Ideally, Wall said, there would be residential development in the area as well as some retail services. WMATA’s goal is to add mixed-use development in the surrounding areas, he said, to further attract riders for the metro station and increase daily ridership.
This development would be unprecedented, Wall said. The most similar developments are by the Prince George’s Plaza Metro stop and Largo Town Center, he said.
“We don’t want this stop to look like any other Metro stop. We don’t want this to be like Prince George’s Plaza. We want this to be unique,” Wall said. “We want you to move at the same pace as us to make sure the project happens and it happens as quickly as possible.”
County Councilwoman Dannielle Glaros (District 3), who represents College Park, said there is a large opportunity for developers around the county. The two pieces of land WMATA and the county are offering are “phenomenal,” she said.
With the Purple Line coming to the county and other potential development, including the potential for the FBI headquarters to come to Greenbelt, the area is primed for growth, Glaros said. The only thing that is missing, she said, is more of a residential component to the area.
“These are wonderful opportunities right at the metro station. We’re looking for partners to be really apart of the future of the city of College Park and of the county,” Glaros said. “There is no other site like this that has these amenities and has these assets.”
College Park can serve as a gateway to Washington, D.C., Glaros said, as well as other key places around Prince George’s County after more development surfaces. There will be more opportunities for development in this area down the road, she said, and is worth the investment.
Prince George’s County has issued an invitation to bid for developers around the county, according to Brad Frome, Deputy Chief of Staff for County Executive Rushern Baker III. This gives developers an opportunity to negotiate with the county on what they want this project to look like, he said.
“When the county executive first came into office, he recognized that College Park and the University of Maryland needed to be taken advantage of,” Frome said. “That’s what this is.”
The county wants development at all metro stations, Frome said, but there are many amenities that will come with this project. Developers will have an opportunity to present their ideas to the county, he said, even if there is not necessarily a “market” for the idea at the time.
“You can sit down with us. We’re open. You can show us your numbers and your plan, and if we decide that it can work, there may be incentives that we can include in the deal,” Frome said.
The incentives that the county may provide are not in place yet, Frome said, and would depend on what the project is. Those incentives will be discussed with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning division of the county, he said.
The deadline for submitting a response to WMATA’s RFP is Oct. 19 at 2:30 p.m., Wall said. If required, the final proposals from developers will be due on Dec. 2. WMATA hopes to have a developer selected and started shortly after next year, he said.