Three local developers who failed four years ago to win rights to the city's lucrative Metro Center redevelopment site said yesterday they want a second chance.

The District of Columbia urban renewal agency Tuesday took the development rights to Metro Center away from two of the city's most prominent businessmen--Oliver T. Carr and Theodore R. Hagans Jr.--after the two refused to pay the agency's $51.6 million asking price for the land.

Western Development Co. wrote the Redevelopment Land Agency on Monday indicating an interest in the Metro Center project. Yesterday, officials at JBG Associates and the Blake Construction Co. also expressed an interest in vying again for the property located in the heart of downtown. A fourth original bidder, Starrett Housing Corp. of New York City, could not be reached for comment.

RLA chairman Nira H. Long reiterated yesterday that she is unsure how the board will select a new developer for the project. She said they could either readvertise the property or simply ask the four teams that lost out in the Metro Center competition four years ago if they are still interested.

Carr's threat to file a court suit to win back the three parcels north of G Street between 11th and 13th streets NE atop one of the city's busiest subway stations could delay a new selection.

Long said the Western letter was "clearly an expression of interest." She said the letter cited newspaper reports concerning the city's asking price and added: "It did appear to say that they would meet that price."

The four RLA board members who got Western's letter refused to make it public. Board member and city housing director Robert L. Moore said he had not received the letter. Western president Herbert S. Miller could not be reached for comment.

Western, the developers of Georgetown Park, a new shopping mall in the heart of Georgetown, has competed unsuccessfully three times in the last four years to win development rights to hotly contested city-owned downtown parcels.

Most recently Western, with a team chock-full of city insiders, lost the fight for the coveted Portal Site in Southwest Washington.

It could not be learned yesterday if the Rockefeller Center Management Corp., Western's major partner four years ago, would also renew its interest. The Rockefeller Development Corp., a sister corporation to the management entity, was also an unsuccessful Portal contender.