The Development Challenges and Possibilities at Four Prince George's County Metro Stations

  • February 8th 2021

by Nena Perry-Brown

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As part of its transit-oriented development (TOD) report, the Greater Washington Partnership also commissioned a prescriptive study for four Metro stations in Prince George's County.

Below, UrbanTurf highlights the challenges and capacities at Greenbelt, Morgan Boulevard, New Carrollton, and Southern Avenue Metro stations.

Greenbelt Metro

The redevelopment of Beltway Plaza presents an opportunity to create connectivity with a future transit-oriented development at Greenbelt Metro. Development potential at the station was studied as part of the abandoned FBI headquarters search, but the report thinks there is still an opportunity to secure a "campus-style tenant", preferably in the technology or research-and-development fields. 

In order to attract development, the site should be branded around technological innovation and makerspace, perhaps in collaboration with the University of Maryland. It is also recommended that environmental conservation and open space integration be a central tenet of any development in order to appeal to firms that may have a lot of millennial employees. 

A TOD here could hypothetically support over 1,000 new residential units (recommended as 60% apartments, 20% townhouses, 15% condos, and 5% detached houses), over 3.6 million square feet of office space, over 200,000 square feet of retail, and over 325 hotel rooms.

Morgan Boulevard Metro

The highest barrier to transit-oriented development at the Morgan Boulevard Metro station is financial, but other obstacles include land availability and adequate infrastructure. To implement TOD here, more targeted incentives and stakeholder buy-in will be necessary, and the county should focus on suburban retrofitting and land assembly, perhaps even taking the initiative to assemble parcels themselves. 

The report says that any TOD should honor the significance of the area's cultural history and capitalize on the planned Central Avenue Connector Trail. Hypothetically, development could deliver up to 1,900 residential units (50% apartments, 30% townhouses, and 10% each condos and detached houses), over 290,000 square feet of office space, over 220,000 square feet of retail, over 210 hotel rooms, and a 320-600,000 square-foot amateur sports complex.

Rendering of TOD Urban Atlantic master-planned at New Carrollton Metro.

New Carrollton Metro

While WMATA is in the process of a joint development of 39 acres at the New Carrolton Metro, inadequate infrastructure is the greatest barrier to additional development.

To implement TOD, the report recommends a branding campaign, more by-right development options, and incentives or zoning for street-facing ground-floor retail or pop-ups and food trucks. The report also recommends that the county establish design standards for the area, organize stakeholders (eg. with a business improvement district), improve the street grid and wayfinding, and amenitize the wetlands near the site (eg. with a walking trail or park, or by turning them into a lake).

Hypothetically, TOD at this station should yield up to 3,000 new housing units (which should be 60% apartments in 3-8-story buildings and 20% each townhouses and condos), at least 1.6 million square feet of office space, over 200,000 square feet of retail, and around 325 hotel rooms. 

Southern Avenue Metro

The highest barrier to development at Southern Avenue Metro station is conservation, followed by financials, infrastructure, and zoning/planning. Petra Development is currently working on a 21-acre development dubbed Southern Avenue Renewal, expected to deliver over 1,300 residential units and a grocery store and other retail, so the county should learn from what worked to get this project approved — upzoning. The Renewal development would have density of 62 dwelling units per acre, while surrounding zoning can support 10-30 dwelling units per acre.

Prince George's County should also try to split infrastructure investment duties with DC and create a joint TOD strategy. A TOD here should connect to the trail network and should have components directly abutting Oxon Run Park, creating a network of open spaces and park amenities. Hypothetically, development could deliver up to 2,300 residential units (60% apartments, 20% townhouses, and 10% each condos and detached houses), over 70,000 square feet of office space, and over 170,000 square feet of retail.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the-challenges-and-possibilities-at-four-prince-georges-county-metro-statio/17853.

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