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Development plans studied for county-owned land in Bowie

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A large swath of land near Bowie State University could be the new home for a mixed-use development that consists of offices, stores, hotels and housing. Or the property might accommodate more college programming, or maybe even a new training facility for the Washington Redskins.

Or all of the above.

A board that was created in February has been weighing those options during the past several months and is expected to offer a recommendation to the County Council next year about the direction Prince George’s should take in developing the 200 acres of land it owns near the university and the Bowie MARC train station.

“What we have talked about is that it needs to be of such scale to complement the university and the immediate neighborhood,” said Boyd Campbell, the chairman of the Bowie State MARC Station Development Board.

The panel was created under a resolution introduced by Council member Ingrid Turner (D-Bowie) and tasked with making recommendations on how county-owned property within the much larger Bowie State MARC station sector plan should be used. The sector plan is made up of 2,300 acres of open space near the regional rail stop and the university.

The development, which has access to Route 197 and the MARC station, would be on the outskirts of the city limits of Bowie, the county’s largest municipality.

For the past two decades, the area that makes up the sector plan has remained mostly rural, serving as a bedroom community and offering few retail or employment options. Now, planners think the combination of the rail stop and the university will spur development in the area.

The sector plan, which was done in 2006, called for the area to have transit-oriented development.

In May, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) asked the Maryland Stadium Authority to study the potential economic impact of relocating the Washington Redskins Training Center and team headquarters to the Bowie site. The team’s headquarters and training center is currently located in Ashburn, although the team plays at FedEx Field in Landover, also in Prince George’s.

The county and the Stadium Authority split the cost for the $25,000 study.

David Iannucci, Prince George’s assistant deputy chief administrative officer for economic development, said luring the Redskins to Bowie would be a boon for Prince George’s, bringing in 100 corporate jobs. Some players could live within minutes of the property in homes, rental properties or hotel suites.

“It would be a potential economic engine, jump-starting the town center,” he said. “It remains an interesting possibility.”

Iannucci said the county would be competing not only with Virginia but with the District, which has shown some interest in luring the team.

The development board is waiting for the findings from the Stadium Authority and a final report from the Urban Land Institute’s Technical Assistance Panel, which is helping put together the recommendations for the area. The ULI conducted an economic feasibility report, which will be available next month. The Stadium Authority’s report is due in February or March.

In the meantime, the board members said, they will continue their work. Campbell called the Redskins study a “separate and apart exercise initiated by the county executive.”

“The Redskins — that is still in negotiations right now,” said Tomeka C. Bumbry, the County Council’s appointee to the board. “The development board has been tasked to move forward without that knowledge.”

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