Move of Md. housing department to New Carrollton officially announced
By Ovetta Wiggins,
State and local officials gathered at the New Carrollton Metro station Monday as Gov. Martin O’Malley announced that a nearby site would become the new headquarters for a state agency.
The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development will move from Anne Arundel County to a new mixed-use development in Prince George’s County in late summer or early fall 2013.
“This is a great day in Prince George’s County,” O’Malley said. “Prince George’s County is on the move . . . and they have partners in the state of Maryland to help them move forward.”
The relocation of DHCD fulfills a campaign promise made by O’Malley (D) and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) five years ago. The department will be the first state agency located in the county.
“This development is going to provide an economic boost to Prince George’s County, and the timing couldn’t be better,” Brown said during the announcement.
Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold (R) on Monday renewed his objection to moving the agency from its Crownsville headquarters. He has written a letter to the state treasurer and state comptroller asking them to reject the proposal. The treasurer, comptroller and governor are members of the state Board of Public Works, which has to approve the deal.
“While this move is ostensibly being done in the name of economic development, it hurts the economy in Anne Arundel County,” Leopold wrote. “Moving around state employees like pawns on a chessboard at a time of severe economic stress is not the right approach.”
O’Malley and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) said the new development, which will include retail, office space and 445 apartments, creates jobs and promotes smart growth.
The county has tried for years to spur development around its 15 Metro stations.
The housing department move follows the announcement this year that developers Forest City and Urban Atlantic intend to create a 39-acre mixed-use project at New Carrollton. That development will be the county’s largest since National Harbor.
“Prince George’s intends to be the economic engine in this region and this state,” Baker said. “Eventually, I know we will see development around Suitland, Largo and Branch Avenue.”