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New Carrollton to become home to Md. housing department

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The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development will make its new home near the New Carrollton Metro station, a move that Gov. Martin O’Malley is expected to announce Monday.

Maryland will sign a 15-year, $40 million lease to house the agency in a new mixed-use development with retail, office space, a performing arts center and apartments, according to state officials. The department will become the first state agency with headquarters in Prince George’s County.

The department, which works on rental housing, neighborhood revitalization and foreclosure prevention, will move more than 330 employees from its Crownsville headquarters in Anne Arundel County to its new location in the late summer or early fall of 2013, officials said. The project is awaiting final approval from the state Board of Public Works, of which O’Malley (D) is a member.

O’Malley said that moving from rural Anne Arundel to Prince George’s promotes smart growth and stimulates transit-oriented development, key priorities of his administration.

The move also fulfills a campaign promise O’Malley made to Prince George’s residents during his first run for governor.

“Five years ago, [Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown] and I made a priority to place a state agency headquarters in Prince George’s County,” O’Malley said. “Today, we are making a modern investment in a modern economy that will create jobs and build a transit-oriented development project to allow us to do the right thing for reducing traffic and sprawl, the right thing for our quality of life, and the right thing for our land, our water and our air.”

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) said the new headquarters will be a “vital step forward for the county and the state.”

“The new Metro-accessible Department of Housing and Community Development will bring jobs and growth to Prince George’s County while helping build a greener, more sustainable Maryland,” Baker said.

New Carrollton — a major transit hub, with Amtrak, MARC and Metro stops, and local and intercity buses — is slowly becoming a tiny metropolis. The department’s headquarters will sit across from another mixed-use development, a 39-acre project that will be built by Forest City and Urban Atlantic and will be the county’s largest new development since National Harbor.

Metroview at the New Carrollton Metro, to which the department’s headquarters is moving, will include 30,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor. The department and New Carrollton will lease office space on the next four floors. The remainder of the building will have more than 400 apartments, including affordable housing.

The project is expected to create 300 jobs during construction and 80 retail positions.

Metroview was the winning bid out of 16 qualified responses, according to state officials.

“It is exciting to have the opportunity to positively impact the community in which we live and work,” said Carl Williams of Grand Central Development and Metroview.

According to state officials, the development is expected to generate $11.68 million in tax revenue during the 15-year lease.

“With the relocation of DHCD to New Carrollton, we will not only fulfill our promise to bring a state agency to one of our most populous counties, but we will provide a significant economic boost to New Carrollton and Prince George’s County at a time when we most need it,” said Brown (D). “By bringing the public and private sectors together with a focus on smart growth, we can create jobs, spur revenue and build stronger communities in Prince George’s County and throughout Maryland.”

For years, Prince George’s officials have tried to attract development around the county’s Metro stations. They have also tried unsuccessfully to lure federal government leases. Most recently, three developers in the county, including Metroview, lost a bid to relocate the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from Rockville.

Last year, the New Carrollton station was one of 14 statewide that Maryland designated for transit-oriented development. The designation gave the location an advantage in consideration for state offices.

Nearly half of the housing department’s 330 employees live in Anne Arundel, and about 90 live in Baltimore or Baltimore County. Fewer than 30 live in Prince George’s.

Raymond A. Skinner, the department’s secretary, has said the move will be an adjustment for employees, and union leaders have protested the relocation.

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