By Mark F. Gray, AFRO Staff Writer,

Metro continues to try and shrink the number of its office buildings in time for the launch of the delayed purple line, Prince George’s County will be home to one of the new sites.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced April 25 that a building next to the New Carrollton Metro station is planned to be its new Maryland headquarters.  WMATA plans to consolidate the number of its office buildings from 10 – as of 2019 – to four by 2022.  It is estimated that reducing the number of it’s office buildings will save $130 million over the next two decades.

D.C. Council members and proponents for the decriminalization of metro fare evasion are crtiicizing the mayor for her choice to veto the bill which would make fare evasion a civil offense. (Courtesy Image/Logo)

“What had been a functional surface parking lot, is now an exciting urban center,” Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said in a statement. “WMATA’s decision to place it’s Maryland headquarters in New Carrollton is the spark that will make that location a dynamic 24-hour community.”

WMATA’s plans in New Carrollton call for the new building to be constructed next to the current Metro station, and will be developed by Urban Atlantic. The agency did not release details about its plans for New Carrollton, but Urban Atlantic previously developed plans for over one million square feet of office space at the property. The agency also won the rights to develop several parcels of WMATA-owned land near the station back in 2016. Eventually, the company hopes to add approximately two million square feet of mixed-use facilities to the site.

However, according to the business website BisNow, Metro’s Maryland headquarters will be a full building directly in front of the southern entrance to the station that will feature between 275,000 and 300,000 square footage of office space.  It will be one of three buildings totaling 1.1 million square feet for another office building and 200,000 square foot for a Kaiser Permanente-anchored building that began construction in October 2017.

The project is also slated to include 1.3 million square feet of residential space, and 150 square feet of retail space and for a hotel.”We determined to select the joint development property, in large part, because they’re committing to delivering, in addition to our office building, a hotel and a multifamily building,” WMATA Vice President of Real Estate and Parking Nina Albert told Bisnow.

“It will be a true neighborhood that will evolve and be catalyzed as a result of our office building.  “All that savings just goes straight back into the system and meeting our core mission, which is providing transit for this region.”

Beyond the savings to Metro, this project is expected to be an economic stimulus for the community.  Over the past decade, gentrification has led to a rise in property values and homeownership in the constantly diversifying community increases.

“It’s a huge stimulus to the County,” Urban Atlantic Managing Director Vicki Davis said. “This is proof that if a county takes leadership, and puts in the right zoning and process and systems in place, that it can really spur economic development.”

Metro’s larger plans include moving its current main offices in D.C. from the Jackson Graham Building in Chinatown, where they have been housed for over 40 years, to a property at 300 7th Street in S.W. near L’Enfant Plaza.  Originally WMATA considered selling the property – across from Capital One Arena – and will make it available for lease by office, residential, hotel, or mixed use development as well.

WMATA also announced its plans for a suburban office in northern Virginia.  The Alexandria offices will be located next to the Hoffman Town Center development at 2395 Mill Road, which is another Metro owned property.