Housing agency change spoils New Carrollton’s plans -- Gazette.Net



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Without financing to move it forward, the new complex that would house the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, which was moving from Crownsville to a site near the New Carrollton Metro Station, has been deferred — hindering with it officials’ dream of new housing and retail surrounding the state agency.

Graham Waters, New Carrollton’s acting city administrative officer, said he is “extremely disappointed” that developer Grand Central Development could not secure financing for the $170 million Metroview project, killing plans to annex the development, which was just outside New Carrollton city limits.

“We put a lot of time and effort into this project,” Waters said Monday. “... But we are optimistic that in the future we’ll be included in whatever project moves forward, and we look forward to that day arriving shortly.”

Metroview project plans included a new 700,000-square-foot facility for the state agency, in addition to 442 apartments and 30,000 square feet of retail space. Those plans are now scrapped, and the proposal process is open starting Dec. 4 to accept potential plans for another retail and housing development that includes a new home for the state’s DHCD. State officials such as Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) issued statements that they hope any new proposals to relocate the agency would still be in Prince George’s County and near a Metro station, meaning the New Carrollton Metro could still be a possibility.

New Carrollton Councilman Duane Rosenberg said any retail could have been sustained by the houses nearby, the DHCD employees and existing employees who worked in the IRS building near the station.

“The IRS employees would have benefited greatly,” Rosenberg said. “They would have had a lot of new places to walk to, and the people who lived in the [proposed] residential [portion] would have had a place to walk to.”

Waters said the city has been working with developer Carl Williams — who owns half of Grand Central with developer Tim Munshell — since 2007 and said the city is still interested in keeping him as a partner in future development deals.

Grand Central did not respond to comment by Tuesday.

Existing retail near the Metro station includes a magazine stand and food cart outside the New Carrollton Amtrak ticket office. Rosenberg, who has been on the council since 2003, said he has heard as early as 2005 the plans for Metroview from Williams, which were revived in 2011 when the state was looking to relocate the DHCD headquarters from Crownsville. Prince George’s County officials have long pushed to increase development around the county’s Metro stations.

Alice McNeill, who has lived on Old Ardwick Ardmore Road for 40 years and is one mile away from the Metro station, said she is OK with leaving the station the way it is because more foot traffic means more litter in the neighborhood.

“I walk in the area, and people just throw stuff, every day,” McNeill said.

New Carrollton Councilwoman Katrina Dodro said she regrets that the New Carrollton area’s assets, such as access to MARC Commuter Rail, Amtrak and Metrorail, are going to waste.

“For me it was just wonderful,” Dodro said. “It was a chance to see where it was accessible for all people.”

nmcgill@gazette.net