Developer chosen for big Maryland TOD project


Philip Langdon

New Urban Network


The Washington area’s Metro transit organization and the state of Maryland have chosen a team led by Forest City Washington to create a major mixed-use development surrounding a station in New Carrollton, Maryland, that serves Amtrak, Metrorail, and MARC commuter trains.

“The site, an assortment of parking lots,access roads and vacant land at one of the Washington region’s busiest transit hubs, would be transformed into more than 5 million square feet of offices, stores, hotels and entertainment space and up to 5,500 new homes,” The Washington Post said in an article available here.

Forest City Washington, an arm of Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises, joined with Urban Atlantic of Bethesda, Maryland, to win the project, according to The Post. If built, the development should help improve the reputation of the Prince George’s County government, which has previously had much less success than other counties in the Washington region in attracting transit-oriented development. Prince George’s TOD prospects “have been hindered in part by a reputation of corruption among government officials,” The Post said.

The new county executive, Rushern L. Baker, has sad he wants to promote TOD while minimizing developers’ influence on county officials. The 39-acre property consists of two sites owned by Metro, totaling 23 acres, and 16 acres owned by the state.

The progress in New Carrollton is also being attributed to better performance by Metro’s joint development unit, which manages the transit agency’s properties and had been accused of not doing a good job of attracting private interests prior to the selection of Steven Goldin as head of the unit in 2009.

The Washington Examiner, in an October 2010 article available here, noted that instead of asking for full (and costly) proposals for what would be Metro’s first large-scale transit-oriented development in Prince George’s, the agency asked for submissions of qualifications from developers or development teams. The Examiner said about a year will be devoted to planning and designing the site, with input from Metro and local and state jurisdictions.

The paper noted that developers were offered the option of sharing their profits with Metro in exchange for a lower ground rent.

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has pledged to move some state offices to TOD locations in Prince George’s. One of them is the Department of Housing and Community Development, which is being relocated from Crownsville, as previously reported here.