Ground broken for new Maryland housing headquarters in Prince George’s County

The developers of the new headquarters for the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development held a groundbreaking ceremony with Maryland and Prince George’s County officials Wednesday, kicking off a 12-month construction project meant to turn the area around the New Carrollton Metro Station into a vibrant community with offices, apartments and stores.

The agency’s relocation, which has been in the works since 2010, will put the first state agency in Prince George’s County. It will deliver one of the county’s first mixed-used, transit-oriented developments and has potential to spur long-awaited growth in New Carrollton.

Many of the project’s stakeholders came to see the launch. Packed into a white tent with views of the Metro station, they listened to an hour of speeches from the developer, County Executive Rushern L .Baker III (D) and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D).

Baker, who has touted development around the county’s Metro stations, said the project is a testament of the county’s progress with smart-growth development and drawing private investment around transit.

Developer Adam Berman with the Rockville-based Berman Enterprises, said the location is ideal for the state facility because of its easy access to transit and major highways.

“When it comes to accessibility, New Carrollton Station is as good as it gets,” he said.

New Carrollton has a Metro station and also has stops for MARC and Amtrak trains and local and regional bus lines. It also is where Maryland plans to build the easternmost stop for the proposed Purple Line between Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.

The project, called Carrollton Station, is beginning less than a year after Maryland approved moving the state agency to New Carrollton from its current location in Anne Arundel County. The four-story, 97,000-square-foot state office building is expected to open in the spring of 2015.

Plans for the first phase of the project also include apartments, a grocery store, and other retail at a 26-acre site just steps from the New Carrollton Metro Station, the Orange Line terminus in Prince George’s. A second phase will increase housing and retail and add a 300-room hotel, the developer has said.

Maryland Secretary of Housing and Community Development Raymond A. Skinner, a Prince George’s resident, said breaking ground opens “a new era for the people of New Carrollton, for the people of Prince George’s County.”

He said the new headquarters will be landmark for bringing new jobs, new retail opportunities and smart-growth to Prince George’s.

The project is expected to create about 130 permanent jobs and 325 construction jobs and will generate new tax revenues for the county and state, officials said.

“We are truly sowing seeds for a vibrant future for this area,” Skinner said.

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Luz Lazo writes about transportation and development. She has recently written about the challenges of bus commuting, Metro’s dark stations, and the impact of sequestration on air travel.
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