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Panel gives preliminary approval to new Pr. George’s police HQ

The Prince George’s County Police Department is a step closer to buying a $27 million headquarters after a County Council committee gave preliminary approval to the plan Tuesday.

The council’s public safety committee approved a lease/purchase agreement for properties in Suitland that several years ago had been sought by the school system for its headquarters.

The site on Presidential Parkway, which includes two buildings and space to construct others, will allow the police department to consolidate administrative offices and move its training academy from Lanham, county officials said.

The county did the deal without competitive bidding, which county law allows. Tom Himler, a top aide to County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D), said the arrangement was a good financial deal for the county.

The group of buildings just off Pennsylvania Avenue known as Washington Plaza is the same site that the school system tried to buy several years ago from Dean Morehouse’s Washington Plaza LLC. That $36 million lease-purchase deal was brokered by NAI Michael Cos., as was the new, $27 million lease/purchase deal for the police headquarters. Former county executive Wayne K. Curry (D), a close associate of Baker’s, is president of NAI Michael Cos.

Council member Mary A. Lehman (D-Laurel) raised objections to the deal, complaining that the council did not have sufficient time to review it and questioned why it had to be considered now.

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