Metro isn’t just a transit system — it’s the owner and manager of some incredibly valuable development sites in the area. Many of the properties are at or above Metro stations or bus bays, so they couldn’t be more convenient for developers looking to build apartments or office buildings that are accessible to public transit.
Metro’s joint development program manages properties that the agency is working to develop in partnership with private partners, usually either through a sale or lease. After years of little activity, the program was energized under recent director Steven Goldin, agreeing to deals that will bring new development to Metro land off of U Street in the District, at the New Carrollton station and at the Dunn-Loring station.
As a reader pointed out, however, not all the stations have seen such activity. At the West Hyattsville stop, Metro owns more than 27 acres, most of it surface parking that could be replaced by a parking garage. The agency has envisioned 200,000 square feet of offices, 65,000 square feet of retail and nearly 800 new housing units for the site.
So what’s going on with the West Hyattsville station?
First the good news for those hoping to see new development there. Rushern Baker III, the Prince George’s County executive, has been aggressively trying to bring mixed-use development to the county’s un-developed Metro sites, which it has far more of than any other part of the region. And in Hyattsville, there have been some signs of progress that began before the recession and survived, such as the Arts District Hyattsville, which features a Busboys & Poets at 5331 Baltimore Ave.
Here’s the bad news. Goldin resigned from Metro’s joint development program in February. Baker hasn’t had any luck in attracting major employers to his Metro stations thus far. And parts of University Town Center, a development nearby, have run into financial distress.
For the moment, there is no movement on Metro’s end, despite some of the ideas tossed around before the recession. “We don’t have any active real estate project at our west Hyattsville station and there’s not even one planned at this time,” a Metro spokesperson told me recently.
Is there a project, building or property in your neighborhood that you want to learn more about? We’ve previously written about the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit Center, the Hill East development, the Arlington Funeral home and others. You can send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Jonathan O’Connell on Twitter: @oconnellpostbiz