Comprehensive design plans for a 345-acre Bowie Town Center, which would include a major regional shopping mall, have been submitted to officials of Prince George's County and the city of Bowie.
Mark Vogel Cos. of Washington recently signed a contract to buy the proposed site from the 437 Land Co., a subsidiary of Hartford Insurance Co., for an undisclosed price. Settlement is set for late summer.
Vogel has submitted plans to city and county officials for a huge mixed-use commercial, retail and residential project on the acreage, at the intersection of Route 50 and Route 301 near Mitchellville Road.
Plans call for a 1.1 million-square-foot regional mall, comparable in size to the Tysons Corner shopping center in Northern Virginia, according to Mark Vogel, president of Mark Vogel Cos.
The proposed Town Center would be near the University of Maryland Science and Technology Center, which is to be built across the Route 50/301 intersection. That complex is expected to contain between 5.5 million and 7 million square feet of research and development space, according to a summary of the proposed Town Center project.
Both Prince George's County and Bowie officials will be involved in the decision-making process on Vogel's proposal. Bowie officials will vote on the project and then make their recommendations to the county, which will make the final decision, Vogel said. "We are already working with both," he said.
The land was rezoned for a mixed-use project similar to Vogel's proposal three years ago but development never took place. The zoning still stands but final approval of site plans must be won by the new developer.
Vogel Cos. predicted this week that the project could "generate $1.6 million in additional gross revenues for the city per year and $6.4 million per year for Prince George's County."
The process of approval or denial of site plans will be in two phases. Officials first will act on the comprehensive design plan already submitted. If those plans are okayed, Vogel then will submit specific building site plans.
"But just as soon as this gets a green light, we can start writing retail leases," Vogel said. "We are looking to break ground just as soon as we get the necessary approvals for our plans."
If approved, the Town Center would increase Bowie's population by about 8 percent and boost the number of housing units in the city by 14 percent, Vogel said.
In addition, studies done for Vogel predict a 12 percent hike in personal income for area residents and a 34 percent increase in the "market value of taxable real property within the city" of Bowie, if the project is approved.
"Bowie is growing so fast that there is not enough commercial or retail space to accommodate the demand," Vogel said.
"There is a lot going on in Bowie," Vogel said this week.
"The city of Bowie is a large affluent community, capable of attracting and absorbing the type of development planned for the Town Center with no detrimental impact on the assets which have made it an exceptionally desirable place to live," his company's proposal said.
The section of Bowie involved in the Town Center proposal originally was planned as a town center area by Bowie's developer, the Levitt Corp. But those plans have been stalled for many years.
In 1982, Prince George's County approved a zoning for the 345-acre site for uses similar to those in Vogel's proposals. The proposed residential units and the size of the proposed mall match those approved in 1982 but the new plan calls for an increase in office space of approximately 800,000 square feet.
"We are well aware that there has been a period of inactivity in regard to the new Town Center's development," Vogel said. "However, we are putting our mouth where our money is and we are now talking with retail and office space tenants. One tenant is considering leasing a 150,000-square-foot building."
Vogel said he hopes to market some of the space to Fortune 500 companies and high-tech organizations. Bringing such companies to the Bowie area would create a "high influx of employment" that would, in turn, "create a need for upscale housing."
The Bowie New Town Center is zoned for 1,520 residential units. The apartments, condominiums and town houses will have "all the refinements demanded in upper-middle-class housing," developers said.
One- and two-bedroom apartments will rent for between $600 to $800 per month. Town houses will start at between $90,000 to $100,000, Vogel said.
He said his company already is talking to potential builders about constructing the residential units. "Housing must be commensurate with the white-collar, upwardly mobile population that employers will bring to this area," Vogel said.
The proposed development plan calls for construction of the Town Center in three stages. Town houses, apartments and some office buildings would be built between 1986 and 1988. The regional mall, office buildings and additional dwelling units would be built during 1988-1992. The remaining office space would be built by the end of 1992.