An ambitious plan to build a $113 million luxury hotel, office and retail complex astride the New Carrollton Metro and Amtrak stations edged closer to reality last week when a rezoning application for a 26.5-acre tract was filed by the property owners, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

WMATA wants the current industrial zone of the huge triangular plot near I-95 and Maryland Route 50 changed to a mixed-use transit zone (MXT) so that potential investors will have greater building flexibility on the site, which is considered one of the hottest parcels in Prince George's County.

"The area is fast growing and very young, and the network of Metro, rail and highways makes it an exceptional and unique location in the Washington area," said M. Richard Miller, acting head of Metro's development branch.

"This hotel and retail complex would be smack on top of the Amtrak and Metro station. . . . Employes or hotel guests could get to downtown Washington or New York without even thinking about a cab. . . . It's very close to NASA and midway between the capital of Maryland and the capital of the United States routes," he said.

Local officials are equally bullish about the highly visible and accessible site and are pushing the showcase WMATA project as another magnet to lure high-technology, corporate and retail establishments to the county.

Once the zoning is approved, competitive design plans will be submitted by developers. The developer who is chosen then will lease the land from Metro.

The requested MXT zone requires only that three of four mixed uses -- residential, hotel, office or industrial and retail -- be incorporated on the site. Prince George's officials are unlikely to contest the new zoning because it offers them greater control and oversight during later conceptual stages, planning officials said.

Normal building standards, setbacks, ratio of green space to buildings, parking and other amenities are determined after the zoning is approved, said Dale Hutchinson, acting chief of zoning for Prince George's.

"The MXT zone is a very good tool for both sides because the county gains a lot of input into the final planning stages," said Frank Derro, chief of transportation planning for Prince George's.

The plan presently calls for a 15-story, 350-room circular hotel featuring a 200-foot atrium that will arch out from a 24-floor office building. Multilevel parking decks would accommodate 3,600 cars, more than doubling the present Metro/Amtrak lot's capacity of 1,500 vehicles.

The preliminary plan, designed by Washington's Perkins and Will, calls for 45,000 square feet in retail shops and eventually 780,000 square feet in office space.

County officials estimate that the development will generate $1.6 million annually in tax revenue and create 2,000 permanent jobs.

It also will complement booming development in the triangular area known broadly as Metro Park East. Kaiser Permanente, Singer, Amoco, Volkswagen of America and Wang Laboratories are among the corporations that have facilties there.

"Metro East is really one of the county's most successful projects," said Jim Myrtle, business development specialist with the Economic Development Corp. of Prince George's County. A cornerstone of the existing business park is the 150,000-square-foot Metro Executive Terrace building, which incorporates many employe amenities.

All of the parcels in the area -- including the 25-acre WMATA tract -- were purchased from Shell Oil Co. within the last decade as the site for Metro's terminal station on the Orange Line was fixed, Derro said.

"Rouse & Associates of Philadelphia has really done some exceptional construction out there," Myrtle said. "The only thing missing now are some restaurants."

The interlocking rail and subway systems make the location of the WMATA proposal -- and, indeed, Carrollton Station Plan Snowballs Rezoning Application Filed For Mixed-Use Development By Joan McQueeney Mitric Special to The Washington Post

An ambitious plan to build a $113 million luxury hotel, office and retail complex astride the New Carrollton Metro and Amtrak stations edged closer to reality last week when a rezoning application for a 26.5-acre tract was filed by the property owners, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

WMATA wants the current industrial zone of the huge triangular plot near I-95 and Maryland Route 50 changed to a mixed-use transit zone (MXT) so that potential investors will have greater building flexibility on the site, which is considered one of the hottest parcels in Prince George's County.

"The area is fast growing and very young, and the network of Metro, rail and highways makes it an exceptional and unique location in the Washington area," said M. Richard Miller, acting head of Metro's development branch.

"This hotel and retail complex would be smack on top of the Amtrak and Metro station. . . . Employes or hotel guests could get to downtown Washington or New York without even thinking about a cab. . . . It's very close to NASA and midway between the capital of Maryland and the capital of the United States routes," he said.

Local officials are equally bullish about the highly visible and accessible site and are pushing the showcase WMATA project as another magnet to lure high-technology, corporate and retail establishments to the county.

Once the zoning is approved, competitive design plans will be submitted by developers. The developer who is chosen then will lease the land from Metro.

The requested MXT zone requires only that three of four mixed uses -- residential, hotel, office or industrial and retail -- be incorporated on the site. Prince George's officials are unlikely to contest the new zoning because it offers them greater control and oversight during later conceptual stages, planning officials said.

Normal building standards, setbacks, ratio of green space to buildings, parking and other amenities are determined after the zoning is approved, said Dale Hutchinson, acting chief of zoning for Prince George's.

"The MXT zone is a very good tool for both sides because the county gains a lot of input into the final planning stages," said Frank Derro, chief of transportation planning for Prince George's.

The plan presently calls for a 15-story, 350-room circular hotel featuring a 200-foot atrium that will arch out from a 24-floor office building. Multilevel parking decks would accommodate 3,600 cars, more than doubling the present Metro/Amtrak lot's capacity of 1,500 vehicles.

The preliminary plan, designed by Washington's Perkins and Will, calls for 45,000 square feet in retail shops and eventually 780,000 square feet in office space.

County officials estimate that the development will generate $1.6 million annually in tax revenue and create 2,000 permanent jobs.

It also will complement booming development in the triangular area known broadly as Metro Park East. Kaiser Permanente, Singer, Amoco, Volkswagen of America and Wang Laboratories are among the corporations that have facilties there.

"Metro East is really one of the county's most successful projects," said Jim Myrtle, business development specialist with the Economic Development Corp. of Prince George's County. A cornerstone of the existing business park is the 150,000-square-foot Metro Executive Terrace building, which incorporates many employe amenities.

All of the parcels in the area -- including the 25-acre WMATA tract -- were purchased from Shell Oil Co. within the last decade as the site for Metro's terminal station on the Orange Line was fixed, Derro said.

"Rouse & Associates of Philadelphia has really done some exceptional construction out there," Myrtle said. "The only thing missing now are some restaurants."

The interlocking rail and subway systems make the location of the WMATA proposal -- and, indeed, the whole Metro East Park area -- unique among developments mushrooming around Washington's Metrorail stations, Derro said.

Rockville and King Street in Alexandria also have joint train and Metrorail stations, but both are located in older, established business districts with less development potential, officials say. New Carrollton is the only suburban transport hub offering Amtrak connections to New York or Florida.

"This is really something the county's been looking forward to, but we want to proceed very carefully and stage development very gingerly so it won't become a clogged commuter center," Derro said.

A commitment by the State Highway Administration to finance more than $100 million in road improvements in the immediate area virtually assures that transportation facilities and road capacity will keep pace with development, he said.

By 1990, work should be underway to upgrade Route 50 to an interstate, making it a full three-lane highway to Annapolis, Derro said. A dramatic reconfiguration of the I-95 interchange with Route 50 also is planned. Further down the road, there is a plan for realignment of East-West Highway (Maryland Route 410) from near Prince George's Plaza to hook up with Route 50 west of the Metro East triangle.

"Of course, we hope to have good bus service into the area . . . the same buses that feed the Metro and train station will obviously feed the employment centers and reduce the cars in the area. . . . The transportation element will be very important," he said.

Derro and others in the local government are puzzled at the lack of speed with which the WMATA project has proceeded since the concept was introduced in September 1983. Miller said the delay has been caused only by "standard bureaucratic procedures" built into the procurement process and by an internal debate over which law firm would represent the WMATA. He said there is no lessening of interest in the project and that Metro officials have received several queries by "major recognizable hotel chains" interested in the luxury hotel component of the project. CAPTION: Picture 1, The New Carrollton Metro station, with sign indicating where to board Amtrak passenger trains. (WP) ; Picture 2, Map. the whole Metro East Park area -- unique among developments mushrooming around Washington's Metrorail stations, Derro said.

Rockville and King Street in Alexandria also have joint train and Metrorail stations, but both are located in older, established business districts with less development potential, officials say. New Carrollton is the only suburban transport hub offering Amtrak connections to New York or Florida.

"This is really something the county's been looking forward to, but we want to proceed very carefully and stage development very gingerly so it won't become a clogged commuter center," Derro said.

A commitment by the State Highway Administration to finance more than $100 million in road improvements in the immediate area virtually assures that transportation facilities and road capacity will keep pace with development, he said.

By 1990, work should be underway to upgrade Route 50 to an interstate, making it a full three-lane highway to Annapolis, Derro said. A dramatic reconfiguration of the I-95 interchange with Route 50 also is planned. Further down the road, there is a plan for realignment of East-West Highway (Maryland Route 410) from near Prince George's Plaza to hook up with Route 50 west of the Metro East triangle.

"Of course, we hope to have good bus service into the area . . . the same buses that feed the Metro and train station will obviously feed the employment centers and reduce the cars in the area. . . . The transportation element will be very important," he said.

Derro and others in the local government are puzzled at the lack of speed with which the WMATA project has proceeded since the concept was introduced in September 1983. Miller said the delay has been caused only by "standard bureaucratic procedures" built into the procurement process and by an internal debate over which law firm would represent the WMATA. He said there is no lessening of interest in the project and that Metro officials have received several queries by "major recognizable hotel chains" interested in the luxury hotel component of the project.Picture, The New Carrollton Metro station, with sign indicating where to board Amtrak passenger trains. Map, Landover station. By Dayna Smith -- The Washington Post