Greater Greater Washington

Prince George's seeks the right kind of growth around Green Line stations

Prince George's wants to encourage development around stations on the southern end of the Green Line. But plans to do so have stalled in an attempt to prohibit "undesirable" businesses there.


Photo by thisisbossi on Flickr.

A recent study from national consulting firm RCLCO shows that since 2000, the northern Green Line corridor between Columbia Heights and Navy Yard captured a larger share of young, professional, and affluent households than the Red Line in Northwest, traditionally the bigger draw for that population. To do the same thing along the southern Green Line, Prince George's County is working on a plan for sustainable, urban development around the Branch Avenue, Suitland, Naylor Road, and Southern Avenue stations.

The proposal would create an "overlay district" around the stations banning everything from nail salons to strip clubs. While some businesses may not be ideal for areas next to a Metro station, the bottleneck might deter future investment that residents anxious for walkable urban development are eagerly anticipating.

Prince George's lags the region in urban development

In his report The WalkUP Wakeup Call, George Washington University Professor Chris Leinberger identifies the DC area with its 43 walkable urban communities as a national model for urban development. These places not only provide residents with increased local amenities such as restaurants, retail, and entertainment options, but also bring jobs closer, reducing commutes.

However, only a handful of these communities are in Prince George's County. Due to a weak market and decades of disinvestment, parking and vacant lots surround the four Metro stations along the southern Green Line. Creating a vibrant, safe, and pedestrian and bike friendly atmosphere would serve to increase the quality of life as well as the property values of those living in neighboring communities.

In response, the Prince George's Planning Department proposed the Southern Green Line Station Area Plan last summer. It is an excellent step in the right direction, proposing vibrant, walkable, mixed-use development around each station. Real estate consultants RCLCO drafted the design for each station area as part of the Southern Green Line Station Area Plan Market Study the Planning Department commissioned in 2012.

Proposal could inadvertently discourage good development

While the Planning Board and County Council were supposed to approve the plan already, it's been pushed back due to neighbor concerns. And councilmembers have proposed creating an overlay district prohibiting businesses near the stations that might undermine attempts to create an upscale retail environment, such as nail salons, car dealers, liquor stores, and tattoo parlors.

In some cases, overlay districts have been used to encourage more upscale retail establishments, but prohibiting certain types of businesses could discourage developers who are already hesitant about investing in these areas. It would be better to use the county's licensing and permitting processes to tailor the types of businesses that are allowed around Green Line stations. It seems others agree; at a public hearing last night, many business owners testified against the imposition of restrictions on the area.

Hopefully, this proposal will only be a short-term hold up. The southern Green Line has a long way to catch up with the sustainable development that has already occurred at many of the region's other Metro stations, but the approval of the Metro Green Line Sector Plan could be a major step in the right direction. And it will show the development community that Prince George's County is serious about sustainable development.

Ultimately, the county will have to implement an innovative investment strategy to reduce some of the actual and perceived risk that developers face in Prince George's. Reducing barriers is one of the most critical strategies the county can employ in order for the southern Green Line to get the investment it needs.

To voice your opinion about the proposed overlay district and its impact on the southern Green Line, you can still submit written comments to the County Council via their website.

Robin Lewis is a Certified Project Management Professional who leads planning and implementation of complex technical product launches. She has a BA in Economics and MBA from Rutgers, and is completing her Masters in Sustainable Urban Planning with a concentration in Climate Change at GWU. She hopes to bring a passion for social justice in sustainable development to the urban planning discipline. 

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I think the problem is that PG is downstream from SE. If you look at TOD in Fairfax it didnt really start to happen until Arlington/Alexandria were more built out. Similar story past Bethesda/Medical Center on the Red Line. There may be some good opportunities if the County gets creative but they way I see it, development is going to follow Navy Yard -> Anacostia/St. Elizabeth before there is serious interest in profitable construction further along. The good news is I don't see it taking more than 10 years for Navy Yard to effectively get built out and pressure moving across the river if the local economy stays strong.

by BTA on Jan 15, 2014 12:07 pm • linkreport

I think the problem is that PG is downstream from SE. If you look at TOD in Fairfax it didnt really start to happen until Arlington/Alexandria were more built out. Similar story past Bethesda/Medical Center on the Red Line. There may be some good opportunities if the County gets creative but they way I see it, development is going to follow Navy Yard -> Anacostia/St. Elizabeth before there is serious interest in profitable construction further along. The good news is I don't see it taking more than 10 years for Navy Yard to effectively get built out and pressure moving across the river if the local economy stays strong.

Probably the same can be said of the northern green line and the eastern side of the red line. Now that Columbia Heights and NoMa have really taken off, money is starting to look at PG Plaza, Hyattsville, Brookland, RI ave, and Ft Totten.

by Richard on Jan 15, 2014 12:18 pm • linkreport

Although BTA is pretty much right except maybe for the time line (it's still likely 10+ years for Greater Navy Yard, plus if you consider Poplar Point, even longer), PG's biggest problem is lack of focus.

Plus, National Harbor will be absorbing all the development interest in that part of the county away from those aforementioned Green Line stations for years to come.

Given the need for tax incentives in University Town Center, which is far more attractive a place to live than in Southern PGC, the demand on the part of developers to build at those locations is minimal without significant subsidy (and even then).

A key thing is to study why development is happening at PG Plaza and New Carrollton stations and not really at any of the other stations. For PG Plaza this is because it started developing intensely in the 1960s, knowing that there would be transit service there eventually.

Note that the West Hyattsville station area plan has been in place for close to 15 years now? And there has been no development there. And that's less than 2 miles from DC (eastern DC of course).

While PGC has an incredible opportunity to redefine its land use planning practices as I have written about quite a bit (e.g., http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com/2012/10/prince-georges-county-still-doesnt-get.html ), the second biggest thing it needs to do is focus.

Because they have put so much into National Harbor, that changes everything, overshadowing a lot of their transit infrastructure. In fact I have been meaning to write about this, thanks for the reminder.

Given the original development + outlet mall + casino, they need to make the Purple Line from say Suitland to Alexandria a key priority to right their wrong no transit direction. Obviously, from New Carrollton to Alexandria would be even better.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rllayman/84535069/

Create an urban renewal district (like what Portland did for the yellow line) and build it themselves. (cf. Bilbao's tram).

by Richard Layman on Jan 15, 2014 12:23 pm • linkreport

Richard -- according to a highly placed source, EYA lost over $20MM on the Hyattsville development. So Brookland and Rhode Island Ave. areas are quantumly different from a development standpoint than Hyatsville. Of course, College Park has a separate and different dynamic.

by Richard Layman on Jan 15, 2014 12:25 pm • linkreport

Richard -- according to a highly placed source, EYA lost over $20MM on the Hyattsville development. So Brookland and Rhode Island Ave. areas are quantumly different from a development standpoint than Hyatsville. Of course, College Park has a separate and different dynamic.
I get that it isn't always going forward, but at least there is interest in hyattsville. I don't think there would have been any interest in the northern green line if U street, Columbia Heights, and Georgia Ave hadn't changed.

There is a lot of development in college park, but it has more to do with the university and less to do with the metro station east of it.

by Richard on Jan 15, 2014 12:32 pm • linkreport

note that the EYA (and dont forget Pulte) development at Hyattsville is 1.4 miles to the nearest metro station. Unfortunately in this case the area with the best bones for walkable urbanism, and the areas with best metro access, do not overlap due to decisions made decades ago.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 15, 2014 12:38 pm • linkreport

We too share your concerns that this is not the right approach for attracting the kind of investment around Metro stations in Prince George's that we all seek. We hope the County Council will recognize it needs to do more with carrots than sticks to foster TOD. See our testimony here:
http://www.smartergrowth.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/CSG-Oppose-CR-139-2013.pdf

by Cheryl Cort on Jan 15, 2014 12:49 pm • linkreport

I agree with BTA. I think that the Waterfront and Navy Yard/Capitol Riverfront (and eventually Anacostia development) will pull these Prince George's Co. metro stations along.

I also agree with the ten year estimate for build-out of the Navy Yard area. As the JD Land blog notes, there is at least 1800 residential units that will be under construction in this neighborhood over the past two years.

The quality of the schools in Prince George's County has to improve significantly to see development similar to the other suburban TODs in the DC region.

by 202_cyclist on Jan 15, 2014 1:53 pm • linkreport

it's a big jump spatially and distance-wise from Navy Yard/Anacostia to Southern Ave. station -- 4.4 miles -- and to Suitland -- 6 miles.

It's just under 2 miles as the crow flies from Fort Totten to West Hyattsville.

It took 20+ years to jump from Union Station to H St. NE.

by Richard Layman on Jan 15, 2014 2:39 pm • linkreport

Agree with most of the above. Southern PGC, just like Anacostia/Penn Ave corridor isn't very desirable to developers mostly due to the weak demand, schools, and economic demographics, as well as the regions highest crime rate. I also agree with Richard Layman, in that National Harbor and the Westphalia development (if/when it's built) will almost definitely suck up all the demand in that part of the county. Unfortunately neither are transit-accessible.

Northern PGC is significantly more attractive developers (see: Route 1/College Park hotel/residential boom; Cafritz Whole Foods mixed-use development in Riverdale; Residential boom at PG Plaza Metro; Route 1 Hyattsville; Greenbelt Metro mixed-use/FBI) partly due to redeveloping neighborhoods across the border in NE DC, partly due to somewhat lower crime/better demographics/better schools and more/better jobs (UMD, NASA, DoA, IRS, other federal sites, office parks, etc) than Southern PG, and partly due to the better geographic location (closer to I-95 corridor, B-W Parkway, NSA, Ft. Meade, BWI, Montgomery County).

There's also the upcoming Purple Line, existing MARC lines, and potential Route 1 Streetcar. As Richard Layman pointed out, even N. Prince George's has had trouble developing. In addition to EYA's problems on Route 1, the University Town Center development (also in Hyattville) at the PG Plaza Metro sta has also struggled. Besides being unable to repay their loans and sell their high-end condos, the developer suffered a huge blow when the federal govt announced that it was moving 450 Treasury jobs from the site to West Virginia to cut costs--a ridiculous move that has since been delayed.

by King Terrapin on Jan 15, 2014 2:39 pm • linkreport

Note the headline for this story should have said "PGC goes about the wrong way seeking the right development."

by Cheryl Cort on Jan 15, 2014 3:08 pm • linkreport

Like other commenters, I have a difficult time thinking about which types of zoning restrictions make sense for areas where few will want to invest much, regardless of zoning.

It's an open question whether National Harbor or the eventual revitalization in Southeastern DC will influence the southern Green Line first.

For government agencies and NGO's, what's easier: To create sustainable development at a Metro Station where development has languished for 20 years? Or to run a rail line to where the development is happening?

The County needs to start pushing a light rail line from Alexandria to National Harbor to Suitland, ahead of the proposed line to Waldorf.

by JimT on Jan 15, 2014 3:09 pm • linkreport

About that "Route 1/College Park hotel/residential boom" ... in the modern student-residential buildings that have been built closer to the UM campus, there's been a lot of turnover and "for lease" signs. \

In the closest building, ChiDogO's vanished, Austin Grill didn't even get off the ground (and the BBQ place that took over its space doesn't seem to have long for this world), and recently the Mediterranean and Asian places closed.

Farther up the Route 1 near the intersection with Greenbelt Road/Route 193, the Enclave seems to be occupied with residents, but ALL its ground-level shops are vacant.

In an existing "Old College Park" storefront on Route 1, California Tortilla left because its rent was jacked up, and a "Lime Fresh Mex" place moved in, and it was pretty good. But now that's gone too. Another cavity to be filled.

Around College Park, the only "mixed-use development" that seems to be bustling with BOTH residents and businesses is the one in North College Park, nowhere near the Metro but right near IKEA and the Beltway interchange.

I like transit as much as anyone else, but I'm quite frustrated by what I'm seeing so far. I can't tell whether I'm seeing the inevitable growing pains of redevelopment or rampant greed that's choking off shops and dining.

by Greenbelt Gal on Jan 15, 2014 3:41 pm • linkreport

Part of the problem is that, for whatever reason, PG County has never really supported Metro or public transportation to the extent that neighboring Montgomery County has. Look at National Harbor, arguably its most successful development, which has no easy access to Metro. Maybe eventually the Anacostia Streetcar line will connect to the complex, which is only really accessible by car right now.

As for the stations that could probably attract redevelopment I would say that Southern Avenue, Branch Avenue, and Naylor Road are likely top candidates. Those stations are close to Hillcrest, a nice neighborhood in SE that most people have never heard of. It is the one nice neighborhood in SE. Hillcrest does have affluent residents who would probably appreciate redevelopment at those stations. Most people think that all of EOTR is ghetto because they have no idea that Hillcrest exists.

The real issue for PG County is that they are really late to changing their development policies. Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, and Montgomery Counties have been planning transit-oriented development for years. For whatever reason, up until recently, PG County didn't really support anything but car-centered development.

by Rain17 on Jan 15, 2014 4:56 pm • linkreport

It's clear in the article, but it may help discussion to add "Southern" to the title.

Pulte sold a few sections of what was sold to them from EYA back to EYA. The greatest problem with EYA's initial development was simply timing. Timing made it hard to reach the prices they wanted when the homes surrounding it were several hundred thousand dollars less.

College Park's retail/restaurant issues along Route 1 are an identity problem. Many businesses need more than simply the student population to succeed. College Park doesn't do a good job accommodating other residents and visitors. Yes, that includes parking.

Regarding the areas focused on in this article, it's important to remember much of the land is developed. There are a lot of landowners. There's little incentive to sell, redevelop or build according to these ideas. I have not read all of the plan, but I don't see much that has changed since past plans.

by selxic on Jan 15, 2014 5:08 pm • linkreport

Greenbelt Gal -- good point, but the economics of retail are different from the residential. Likely the residential does fine, but the rents are too high for the retail, plus lack of "density" for retail plus an absolutely horrid urban design environment from the standpoint of walkability. I wrote about College Park and their desire to be a "college town" a couple weeks ago. They have big issues.

I keep meaning to write about how "all the developers" want activated spaces but they expect the retailers to pay full freight for the privilege of being the activators. It doesn't work that way, or at least, it takes a bunch of iterations before you get the right retailers-restaurants who can make the equation work.

JimT-- your point about light rail to NH from Alexandria is what I am intending to write about. If they want to change the paradigm, it's easier to do it from where you're already successful than from where you're not. And they have to respond.

It's the thing about Bilbao as a comparison. They decided they wanted to add tram to their transit mix and they did it within 4 years. Of course, it helped that there is a international manufacturer of transit vehicles, CAF, in the Basque region, so it was a different form of local ec. dev. too.

That kind of speed is almost unthinkable here.

King Terrapin -- nothing to say other than great comments.

Rain17 -- that's the point I keep making, that PG says they want TOD without understanding what it means, without changing their practices. And they get patted on the back for saying TOD, without any criticism or "pointers" about what they are doing wrong.

by Richard Layman on Jan 15, 2014 5:13 pm • linkreport

"It's an open question whether National Harbor or the eventual revitalization in Southeastern DC will influence the southern Green Line first."

For whatever reason transit-oriented development has not been a priority for PG County recently. It seems like the other suburban counties have been more interested in bus service and Metro than PG County has ever been.

I don't think National Harbor will influence the green line because it is pretty secluded from the rest of the county. There may be limited bus service to the complex, but the only realistic way to get there is via car. I don't know why they developed that project away from the Metro or other public transportation.

by Rain17 on Jan 15, 2014 5:14 pm • linkreport

selxic, I understand the point about timing and EYA. It's the same issue more or less with University Town Center. Still, the other developers, and more importantly, the financiers, don't want to get all nuanced. So they just figure they'll wait, and work on projects in the meantime where the risk is much lower. PGC developments have more risk compared to comparable developments in all the other jurisdictions.

I wouldn't know how to rank them but they would be last, meaning investments in DC, ArCo, Alexandria, MoCo, and Fairfax would come ahead.

by Richard Layman on Jan 15, 2014 5:15 pm • linkreport

@ Rain17

FYI Hillcrest is not the only "nice" neighbourhood in SE, whatever that means. Capitol Hill is mainly in SE, others EOTR are Penn Branch, Fort Dupont, Benning Ridge, Fairfax Village, etc.

Also, MontCo has not been so great at developing around all its metro stops either. Twinbrook, Forest Glen, Glenmont and Shady Grove, are good examples. Shady Grove is a wasteland...which PG Co station is as barren as that?

To PG's credit, at least it was able to build residential areas within walking distance to its newest stations, Branch Ave, Morgan Blvd, and Largo. Why hasn't Montco been able to build anything of significance around Shady Grove?

by Burd on Jan 15, 2014 5:19 pm • linkreport

I thought that King Farm was near Shady Grove. But I guess that part of the reason why there isn't much development at Shady Grove is that it is near where the ICC and 370 come together. There's also lots of industrial warehouses near there.

by Rain17 on Jan 15, 2014 5:26 pm • linkreport

About that "Route 1/College Park hotel/residential boom" ... in the modern student-residential buildings that have been built closer to the UM campus, there's been a lot of turnover and "for lease" signs. \
In the closest building, ChiDogO's vanished, Austin Grill didn't even get off the ground (and the BBQ place that took over its space doesn't seem to have long for this world), and recently the Mediterranean and Asian places closed.

Farther up the Route 1 near the intersection with Greenbelt Road/Route 193, the Enclave seems to be occupied with residents, but ALL its ground-level shops are vacant.

In an existing "Old College Park" storefront on Route 1, California Tortilla left because its rent was jacked up, and a "Lime Fresh Mex" place moved in, and it was pretty good. But now that's gone too. Another cavity to be filled.

It has been that way for a while. The college town market is tough, the best staff are students but they are always graduating. The business can be brisk when classes are in session but empty when not. Customers are also always graduating or are otherwise fickle moving on to the next thing often. The rent is always high.

As for California Tortia/Lime Fresh, that location has always been a revolving door, even more than most of college park.

Given these considerations and that a lot of new development opened right in time for the ressession I wouldn't read too much in to some growing pains.

by Richard on Jan 15, 2014 5:27 pm • linkreport

@ Rain17

King Farm is "near" Shady Grove but doubt many of them actually walk to the station's entrance. Branch Ave Sta has a higher density residential area much closer in walking distance to the entrance.

by Burd on Jan 15, 2014 5:35 pm • linkreport

Route 1 businesses in College Park will improve with additional streetscape improvements and traffic calming. It's getting better in spots, but there are still some terrible road stretches. No side walks, no crosswalks, no bike lanes or sidepaths, no speed enforcement, ultra-long lights, a narrow center turn lane, high speeds, light cycles incentivized for whiplash driving. Death trap.

People often think that it's "congestion" that deters business traffic, but more often it's not traffic delays specifically that deter, it's just the terrible driving experience altogether.

Once traffic is calmed, it will be much better for business. Disclosure -- my wife owns a business on this stretch! And I don't like to drive on Route 1 anywhere nearby -- I access her shop using neighborhood back streets when I have to drive there.

by Jeff Lemieux on Jan 15, 2014 5:57 pm • linkreport

@ Burd, Rain7

Montgomery County has recently been focusing on developing the area around Shady Grove station as it's one of the last two Metro stations in the county that hasn't attracted much development (the other being Glenmont; Forest Glen is in a residential neighborhood). The huge King Farm development is across the street, but for most residents and employees of the large entire office park it isn't an easy walk, but there is a free shuttle.

Things are definitely looking promising for the area though:

- Bainbridge has a 6-story, 417-unit apartment building currently under construction (to deliver spring 2015) on the Metro side of MD355.
- The Carmax dealership next door to the Bainbridge development is moving to Shady Grove Rd, and the large site it's currently occupying will likely be redeveloped
- On Redland Road, 36 townhomes and a 4-story, 117-unit residential building will be built right across the street from the station.
- Finally, the County government has finished relocating their school bus/RideOn/highway maintenance complex to north of I-370/MD200 allowing the huge parcel of land to be redeveloped. The West Side of Crabbs Branch Way will be redeveloped first and will include 1,114 apartment units, 407 townhouses, and a public library, with EYA tasked with redeveloping a portion of the site and carrying out all design work. Groundbreaking could begin as early as this year.

The redevelopment of the area surrounding Shady Grove station is especially challenging, even with the county maintenance complex relocation, since it's still heavily industrial. For instance it's very unlikely that the county Waste Transfer Station will move since it needs access to the CSX tracks.

by King Terrapin on Jan 15, 2014 6:05 pm • linkreport

@King Terrapin

"Montgomery County has recently been focusing on developing the area around Shady Grove "

That's fine, but it's still a wasteland around the station today. I pointed out those undeveloped stations in MoCo because Rain17 and GWW seem to have a double standard when it comes to PG Co metro stations.

And, King Farm is not "across the street" from Shady Grove station.

by Burd on Jan 15, 2014 8:29 pm • linkreport

Rain17

All of SE is not EOTR (Capitol Hill, Navy Yard, Barracks Rows etc are all in SE) and also Hillcrest is not the only nice part of SE that is EOTR there are more.

Out of curiosity how often do you go east of the Anacostia cause you fail to mention NE that is also east of the river.

by kk on Jan 15, 2014 8:34 pm • linkreport

@Rain17I don't think National Harbor will influence the green line because it is pretty secluded from the rest of the county. There may be limited bus service to the complex, but the only realistic way to get there is via car.

National Harbor adds a lot to the viability of a light rail line from Alexandria->Oxon Hill->Green Line. That might be enough to spur increased interest in the area along Oxon Hill Road and St. Barnabas, which would have both transit and easy Beltway access.

I don't know why they developed that project away from the Metro or other public transportation.

Where else could National Harbor have been built? Light rail has long been planned--they even built two extra lanes on that Woodrow Wilson bridge to make it possible. Other feasible locations seem to have poorer prospects for transit than the existing location.

by JimT on Jan 15, 2014 9:16 pm • linkreport

PGC is a latecomer to TOD but a few historical notes are necessary:

National Harbor was initially planned decades ago when the closet thing to TOD in the suburbs was Rosslyn and the highrises near Bethesda Metro. The current incarnation was not the original concept but came after several stages of different proposals.

PG Plaza predates planning for Metro. The first phase was built in '59 or '60 on the heels of successful plazas at Langley Park. The development there lacks density and this probably is part of its fragility.

Another history note:

H Street was the product of decades of slow northward and eastward gentrification in Capitol Hill more than Union Station.

Arlington and Bethesda had more to build-on initially than PG does now. PG needs to attract catalysts for development---federal employment complexes are probably the best things they can attract to help with this, along with first rate residential construction which new employment centers could stimulate. It's a shame PG has not benefited from BRAC given the presence of Fort Meade and Andrews in or near the periphery of the County. PG is an underachiever for retail, but probably needs successful new residential to reverse that. Better off shoppers probably are drawn to MoCo and Annapolis,

College Park strikes me as challenging and potentially very difficult for structural reasons, to put it politely--the campus is spreadout, a huge proportion of residential students aren't very far from home which limits their utilization of the "college town" nearby and Rt 1 probably is never going to be a practical non-through route. Successful redevelopment will need successful redevelopment of the campus and and effort to create a real residential campus, along the lines of more typical non-urban state schools.

by Rich on Jan 15, 2014 10:03 pm • linkreport

The part about "a huge proportion of residential students [in College Park] aren't very far from home" -- well, that's the nature of a small state, geographically. I suppose Maryland could have established its flagship campus in Frostburg or Salisbury, so that students from the DC/Baltimore corridor would have had farther to travel, but it didn't.

Then again, my home state of Massachusetts established its flagship public research university at the opposite end of the state from the major population center, which yielded a quaint, perfect little college town with a university that gets regularly ignored by the major population center.

I agree with the comments about Route 1. College Park was not well laid out to start with. I can't help thinking that the boom-bust of the academic calendar (from a customer-reliant business standpoint) would be mitigated if the town and immediate region had more professional, middle-class jobs that ran 12 months of the year. You know, like MoCo and NoVa (DC being sui generis).

by Greenbelt Gal on Jan 15, 2014 10:50 pm • linkreport

Most of the speakers at the hearing, including Ms. Lewis, were opposed or had major concerns. Only a couple favored the plan. At least four major businesses that could be adversely affected were represented--businesses that have been in the area for decades, employing hundreds of people with payrolls in tens of millions, paying millions in taxes, and successfully providing products and services that are wanted by the people of Prince George's County--businesses, products, and services that apparently are no longer wanted or valued by the elitist politicians.

Seems to me--and apparently to Ms. Lewis and other speakers who weren't quite so blunt--that council members Toles, Franklin, and Patterson ought to stop looking for things to prohibit, come up with a positive vision, and get off their butts and go find some developers to carry it out.

by D.C. Russell on Jan 15, 2014 11:23 pm • linkreport

A big factor to consider with the EYA Hyattsville development was timing. They came to market with that in 2006-2007, which was right when the financial crisis hit. PG county got hit especially hard during that time. Single family bungalows were fetching $300-400k at the peak in 2005. EYA came to market at $400k, which given the financial environment when they were being planned, was feasible. Even to this day, people that bought the initial units in that development are underwater. Just look at the MLS. Lots of short sales there.

As far as revitalizing Hyattsville, I think the development has been fairly successful. There are lots of new restaurants that have opened, and they remain open. As others have pointed out, the lack of metro remains a huge downfall though.

by brookland_rez on Jan 16, 2014 8:43 am • linkreport

@Greenbelt Gal

I agree with the comments about Route 1. College Park was not well laid out to start with. I can't help thinking that the boom-bust of the academic calendar (from a customer-reliant business standpoint) would be mitigated if the town and immediate region had more professional, middle-class jobs that ran 12 months of the year. You know, like MoCo and NoVa (DC being sui generis).

The jobs are there. College Park has M-Square, UMD, the FDA at White Oak is a short 10 minute commute, the Agriculture Research complex, Archives II. I agree with most of what you say about RT.1. It is true that foot traffic is seasonal. I think the solution is to provide more density and attract all those employees to stay in College Park. This is the new initiative by President Loh. College Park needs to pump the breaks on all the new student housing that empties out during the summer and now start focusing on more permanent residents.

There are two projects going through the approval process now that will provide more stable residents. Bother are across from each other just north of 193. One will include townhomes. Then there is the Riverdale Park /Cafritz development that will go a long way in making College Park business more stable in addition to the development of Greenbelt Station.

In Hyattsville, the first phase of the Belcrest Redevelopment is almost complete adding to the luxury apartment stock near the PG Plaza metro. The old Kiplinger building next to the Giant is up for a zone change to mixed-use with plans for luxury apartments and retail. The addition of the Safeway will help to further stabilize retail at UTC.

The recession either stalled projects or really slowed things down for the northern part of the Greenline.

by adelphi_sky on Jan 16, 2014 8:57 am • linkreport

I agree that the right people are already there, adelphi_sky, but there is little reason/incentive to visit the College Park portion of Route 1 south of 193 right now.

by selxic on Jan 16, 2014 10:20 am • linkreport

I think Metro ridership speaks for itself. PG is not doing enough to make use of the ridership potential at its stations. Almost all of the bottom 20 stations are in eastern DC or PG. The only one that generate significant use is New Carrollton, probably due to Amtrak/MARC connections and the IRS.

by BTA on Jan 16, 2014 10:24 am • linkreport

@ BTA

The market clearly does not want office space near the bottom 20 stations. If they did, then we'd see more proposals for development there.

But PG planners have been able to attract high-density residential developments near its newer Metro stations, e.g. Branch Ave, Largo and Morgan Blvd. But why hasn't Mo Co done the same with , e.g. Shady Grove or Glenmont?

by Burd on Jan 16, 2014 11:54 am • linkreport

@Burd
"And, King Farm is not "across the street" from Shady Grove station."

Actually, it is. Once you get to MD355 it's a 5 min walk down King Farm Blvd. The problem is it's not an easy walk to MD355 for most people working/living in King Farm, as I said earlier.

by King Terrapin on Jan 16, 2014 12:03 pm • linkreport

Nice article, i believe PG county's issue is "image" and it needs to focus on marketing itself much better. As a native of Arlington, I know that Fairfax did not wait for Arlington and Alexandria to build before it started. Tysons Corner planning was started in the early 60s and the mall opened in 69. Arlington was not even planning mall and business development before Fairfax but what both had going for it was a strong "image" not to mention great schools.

by native arlington on Jan 16, 2014 2:11 pm • linkreport

@ King Terrapin

No it's not...Shady Grove Sta is between Somerville and Redland not on Rockville Pike, and not "across the street" like the new residential development near Branch Av station.

by Burd on Jan 16, 2014 3:16 pm • linkreport

Yes, technically the address isn't on Rville Pike but it's literally right behind the Carmax and Bainbridge that are on the Pike:

"http://goo.gl/maps/aBfcb"

by King Terrapin on Jan 16, 2014 3:55 pm • linkreport

Right, just like I said, it's not across the street, and it's a heck of a walk to the actual station entrance.

by Burd on Jan 16, 2014 5:05 pm • linkreport

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