Gloria Sandy, an Upper Marlboro resident who owns property in Kentland, said the strip malls that line state Route 202 in Landover badly need upgrades and redevelopment, but the region will need more housing stock to be successful.
“If we want new retail, we need more people,” Sandy said. “If we build the retail without anyone to use the stores, they won’t thrive.”
Sandy, 59, was one of about 25 Landover residents and property owners who gave generally positive feedback Dec. 6 on preliminary proposals to revitalize the Route 202 corridor — which planners called “outdated” and under-utilized — and the area surrounding the Landover Metro Station.
Planners said at the meeting that they want to increase the amount of retail space along the corridor, paired with apartment complexes to support the new shops.
The Landover Metro Area and MD-202 Corridor Sector Plan covers the area surrounding the thoroughfare from the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in the west to Barlowe Road in the east, encompassing parts of Landover and Kentland. Roberto Duke, project manager for the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, said the plan will focus on two primary areas: the Dodge Plaza shopping center and an industrial area abutting the Landover Metro Station.
Duke said the two areas represent some of the best opportunities for revitalization along the corridor, both in the short- and long-term.
For Dodge Plaza, planners suggested replacing some of the parking lot at the shopping center with an organic grocery store and a mixed retail and housing complex. Near the Landover Metro Station, Duke proposed converting vacant warehouses into a destination food market like Union Market in Northeast Washington, D.C., as well as an indoor sports recreation facility.
Duke said planners will approach property owners about the food market concept in the coming months.
“We have to do a combination of bringing people into these areas and providing the retail,” Duke said. “But at the same time, we don’t want to displace the current businesses.”
Kristen Southerland, 32, of Landover said she was excited by the prospect of a more varied mix of uses at the Dodge Plaza site, but added that she was concerned about homeless and underserved people who frequent the area at night making it difficult to garner residential or fiscal support for the project.
“I don’t want these proposed changes to be depreciated by things that are surface-level issues,” Southerland said.
Dukes said that by improving the mix of uses at the shopping center, some of the issues regarding homeless people or crime can be at least partially resolved.
“If we infuse the area with housing, there will be more residents and more eyes on the street 24 hours a day,” Duke said. “And that could help prevent any unwanted activities.”
Dukes said that as planners move forward with the sector plan, they want to continue to incorporate residents’ ideas on how to improve the corridor for shoppers and residents.
The M-NCPPC will host its next meeting, which will reflect more feedback from the Dec. 6 meeting in its plans for the corridor, from 7 to 9 p.m. Jan. 17 at the Prince George’s Ballroom at 2411 Pinebrook Ave. in Landover. Duke said a final proposal for the area will be made available in June, and will likely seek approval from the county Planning Board and County Council in the fall.
For more information about the agency’s proposals or to provide written feedback, residents can go to www.pgplanning.org/lmamd202.html.