Glenn Dale Hospital in Prince George's County is offered for sale

Final bids for the 60 acres that make up the 76-year-old hospital campus are due Tuesday.
By Ovetta Wiggins
Thursday, September 9, 2010

Glenn Dale Hospital, a once-stately facility of Georgian and Colonial Revival-style brick buildings that served as a tuberculosis sanatorium and later a hospital for the District's chronically ill, is up for sale.

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, which owns the 210-acre site about 15 miles from the District line in rural Prince George's County, wants to sell to the highest bidder the 60 acres that make up the 76-year-old hospital campus.

Final bids must be received by Tuesday, and bidders must meet requirements for the complex's reuse.

Chuck Montrie, the park planning supervisor for the county Department of Parks and Recreation, which oversees the property, said the commission made a national appeal for bids in June.

But there has been little interest in the crumbling, vacant property, which consists of about 22 buildings, including a five-story adult hospital, a three-story children's hospital and a number of smaller buildings, he said.

"I have not gotten one call, and given the recession, I'm not sure if I will get too many, if any, serious bids," Montrie said. "My fear is that it won't get any bids."

Residents of the Glenn Dale neighborhood are asking why the commission placed the hospital on the market, given the economic downturn that has stalled developments and hindered sales of residential and commercial properties.

"It seems a strange time to be seeking a bid," said Mary Vondrak, a Glenn Dale resident.

Some residents said the Sept. 14 deadline -- primary Election Day -- gave them pause. They said they worry that the property is being sold in the waning days of an administration that has been criticized over deals involving county-owned land. According to a Washington Post investigation in 2008, millions of dollars in development deals went to friends, business partners and campaign contributors of County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D), many of whom had little development experience and got land at cut-rate prices.

Adrian Gardner, general counsel for the commission, said the timing "was unrelated to any political issue," but rather the June 8 issuing of the solicitation came after legal talks with the District, the former owner of the property, regarding covenants in the deed. If the commission receives more than it cost to buy and maintain the hospital, the District would share in the proceeds of the sale.

"The public deserves to have this property in a productive capacity of some sort, and right now all this property is doing is consuming taxpayer resources to maintain it," Gardner said.

If the grounds are sold, the hospital campus is supposed to be used as a continuing care retirement community, according to a 1994 state law. The rest of the land is meant to be open space dedicated to parks and recreation.

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