Metro board selects team for development near New Carrollton Station

The Metro Board of Directors selected Forest City Enterprises and Urban Atlantic on Thursday to develop 39 acres near the New Carrollton Metro station, moving Prince George’s County a crucial step closer to creating its first significant transit-oriented development.

The companies will lead a team that also includes the Lanham-based Michael Cos. and Scientia Enterprises, a venture owned by former Prince George’s county executive Wayne K. Curry.

“Transit-oriented development around the Metro system generates millions of dollars for the region,” said Metro General Manager Richard Sarles in a statement. “We are pleased to be working with Maryland on this public-private partnership that allows Metrorail to serve as an economic engine.”

The board also approved a memorandum of understanding with the development team. The joint agreement says that the state Transportation Department will make $350,000 available and Metro agrees to reimburse the team up to $650,000 in consultant costs for planning.

Metro and the state each own parcels of the land, near Route 50 and the Beltway at a major transit hub on Metro’s Orange Line and the MARC commuter rail line.

The development, expected to be one of the county’s largest projects since National Harbor, will bring millions of square feet in retail and office space and thousands of residences.

“We look forward to working with all of the stakeholders to make New Carrollton a great place,” said Victoria S. Davis, president of Urban Atlantic Development.

The Forest City and Urban Atlantic partnership was among five groups that responded to a joint request for qualifications in September. Maryland officials must approve the development team’s selection.

“Forest City and Urban Atlantic were selected based on their superior financial strength, previous experience in public/private and complex [transit-oriented development] projects [and] experience in all property types,” Steve Goldin, Metro’s director of real estate, said in a statement. Goldin led the eight-member panel of Metro and state officials who made the recommendation to the board.

Metro’s selection comes shortly after the county was dealt a major blow in its push to attract development around its 15 rail stations.

The county lost a bid for the relocation of Department of Health and Human Services offices when the General Services Administration, which oversees real estate for the executive branch, decided to keep the offices in Rockville.

Prince George’s officials have tried for years to attract development around its stations, but the sites remain comparatively underutilitzed.

Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) announced last year that the Department of Housing and Community Development would move its headquarters from Anne Arundel County to a location near a Metro station in the county.

But that proposal has been questioned by union officials and state lawmakers.

During a briefing from the county’s economic development team last week, County Council member Mel Franklin (D-Upper Marlboro) said the county is fighting a “not Prince George’s County” sentiment from some developers and federal officials looking for office space.

On Thursday, the Metro board also gave developers who want to build near the Greenbelt Station an extension to compete for a major federal office tenant.

FBI officials said two years ago that there had been preliminary talks before the economic downturn to move the bureau’s headquarters out of the aging J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building on Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Court filings over stalled plans to build a mixed-used development in Greenbelt revealed that the agency might have considered the site.

Ovetta Wiggins writes about K-12 education.
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