Less than a week after Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s administration scrapped its plan to build a new housing agency headquarters in Prince George’s County, the state is giving it another try.
O’Malley’s Department of General Services has posted a new Request for Proposals on its Web site outlining a re-worked search for developers interested in leasing or building office space in Prince George’s County for the Department of Housing and Community Development.
The state is seeking other options relatively quietly. Neither O’Malley (D) or the general services agency issued a press release announcing the new search. Neither issued a statement to the press last week when the developer it chose the first time, Grand Central Development, was unable to finance a building for DHCD in New Carrollton and the state shelved the plan.
The new solicitation, issued by Linda McGovern, chief of lease management and procurement, asks for 92,707 square feet of space for the housing agency near public transit in Prince George’s County, where O’Malley has committed to moving a state agency. DHCD and its 330 employees are currently located in Crownsville, where the state has put on hold the sale of its existing building.
The new deadline for responses is Dec. 4 2012, nearly two years after the deadline of the original search. Should the state choose a developer planning a new building it would likely not be complete until late 2016.
O’Malley’s persistence at wanting to relocate the housing agency to Prince George’s County is major boost to Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III’s efforts to bring transit-oriented economic development to the area.
But the idea remains deeply unpopular in Anne Arundel County, which stands to lose DHCD. John R. Leopold, Annapolis, Anne Arundel County executive, wrote last week that the move could cost an extra $25.5 million over its 15-year lease plus $3 million in moving costs.
“The planned move is an egregious example of political favoritism driving public policy at taxpayers’ expense,” Leopold wrote.
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