Long-awaited state housing headquarters under construction in Prince George’s -- Gazette.Net



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Ground was broken Wednesday and construction has begun on a New Carrollton mixed-use development site anchored by the county’s first state government agency office, bringing shops, dining and a hotel near the city’s Metro station.

“We’re really breaking ground here on a new era for the people of New Carrollton, for the people of Prince George’s County, and for all the people in the state of Maryland,” said Raymond Skinner, Maryland secretary of Housing and Community Development.

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development headquarters will be the first state agency to relocate to Prince George’s County, and its location is close not only to the Metro, but to the MARC, AMTRAK and future Purple Line stations, Skinner said, referring to a 16-mile light rail line that will connect Bethesda and New Carrollton.

“Our new headquarters and the accompanying development will serve as a living, breathing testament to smart growth,” Skinner said.

The DHCD relocation will bring over 300 employees to the New Carrollton site, County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) said.

The project has been eight years in the making, Prince George’s County Councilman Eric Olson (D-Dist. 3) of College Park said.

“We had a recession, and a lot of other things happen over the past eight years, but standing here today, it is a great thing to know that we are going to have transit-oriented development here in New Carrollton,” Olson said.

Phase one of the project, costing $166 million, will include 500 residential units and 65,000 square feet of retail space anchored by the DHCD headquarters, and is scheduled for completion in 2015, said Adam Berman, partner with Rockville-based developer Berman Enterprises LP.

Berman said his family, which purchased the site 30 years ago, sees a bright economic future for the area.

“Things are the most business-friendly we’ve ever seen in the county, thanks to the leadership of County Executive Baker and the County Council,” Berman said. “We are thrilled that the Department of Housing and Community Development is relocating here.”

Phase two will consist of up to 2,400 residential dwelling units, 100,000 square feet of retail and a 300-room hotel, Berman said. Dates for the second phase have not yet been set.

The DHCD headquarters and accompanying mixed-use development is part of Baker’s administration’s plan for promoting transit-oriented development at the New Carrollton Metro, as well as four other Metro sites.

“What you see here is another step to bring the world to Prince George’s County,” said County Council President Mel Franklin (D-Dist. 9) of Upper Marlboro. “We’re moving away from being what has been termed a ‘bedroom community’ to being a world destination site.”

janfenson-comeau@gazette.net