Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley announced that he was moving the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development from Crownsville to New Carrollton making good on a promise he made long ago.

“Five years ago, Anthony and I made it a priority to place a state agency headquarters in Prince George’s County,” said Gov. O’Malley. “Today, we are making a modern investment in a modern economy that will create jobs and build a transit-oriented development project to allow us to do the right thing for reducing traffic and sprawl, the right thing for our quality of life, and the right thing for our land, our water, and our air.”

It is the first major tenant for the New Carrollton site in which Prince George’s County and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is hoping to develop to mirror major transit centers in Washington, D.C. and Arlington, Va. County Council Vice Chair Eric Olson, D. Dist. 3, whose district encompasses the development site is pleased that economic development is coming to Prince George’s.

“The thriving transit-oriented community envisioned for the New Carrollton Metro station is now on its way to fruition,” said Olson in a statement. “With today’s announcement, the New Carrollton station will soon become a dynamic center for jobs, housing, and retail.”

Not everyone is pleased with the development. Anne Arundel County Executive has vehemently opposed the move since it was announced. He was concerned for the majority of Anne Arundel County residents who would now have to adjust to working in a new location.

“Anne Arundel County was not consulted prior to this decision,” Leopold told the AFRO last year. “When you make a decision that significantly affects and disrupts people’s lives, I think it’s always a good idea to involve the people who are going to be impacted and the jurisdiction in which they live.”

DHCD officials didn’t sound as upset as they’ve accepted the move. Department officials say that due to MARC access, along with route 50 and Interstate 95 serving as major thoroughfares, New Carrollton was a great choice.

“Based on what we’ve heard from our employees we believe the location at New Carrollton is the best outcome we could’ve hoped for,” said Jacqueline Lampell, director of the Office of Communications and Marketing for DHCD. “It plays well with the governor’s plan of transit oriented development with links to rail, air and bus.”

Lampell acknowledged that the move would still be a challenge for DHCD employees but said she expects them to handle it with “grace and equanimity.”

The 700,000 square-foot development will be called metro view and will be constructed by Grand Central Development. It is slated to be mixed use with 400 units of affordable rental housing. Move-in date is slated for late summer/early fall of 2013.

DHCD will be the first state agency to have a home in Prince George’s County.

 

George Barnette

Special to the AFRO