- The Washington Times - Friday, July 20, 2001

Efforts to revitalize areas near the region's Metro stations advanced yesterday when the Metro board selected a developer to build another mixed-use complex near Prince George's Plaza.

The board selected District-based Taylor Development and Land Co. to build a 168,000-square-foot retail space facing East-West Highway near the Prince George's Plaza Metro station. A separate 300,000-square-foot office building, 700-car garage and 240 residential rental units will be built on the eastern side of the site, north of the Metrorail tunnel.

The new complex will be situated near Prince George's Plaza, a 900,000-square-foot indoor shopping mall in Hyattsville that sits directly across from a Green Line Metro station. The project will be built in two overlapping phases. The station's 183 parking spaces are expected to be relocated during construction.

"We have to develop around the stations," Metro Board Chairman Decatur Trotter said yesterday. "The people expect that we would be using the area around the station as an economic tool."

This project, the first phase of which is expected to open in 2005, comes on the heels of several other Metro-related development projects in Prince George's County. Earlier this year, county planners approved a preliminary plan for a town center-style complex about one block from the Prince George's Plaza station. A similar complex is in the works near the Greenbelt Metro station.

Members of the Prince George's County Council, including Peter Shapiro, whose district includes Hyattsville, said they were unaware of this most recent development.

But, Mr. Shapiro said, any development near a Metro station would be positive for the region.

"I'm a big fan of transit-oriented development," he said.

Mr. Trotter said he was encouraged to see such development planned, particularly because finding developers to build in Prince George's County has proved to be a challenge.

"It's not as easy as going into the District of Columbia," Mr. Trotter said. "Things are looking up."

Mr. Trotter said building near oft-overlooked Metro stops, such as the Capitol Heights stop on the Blue Line and others in predominantly black areas, is the next step.

Meanwhile, Metro has 16 locations listed as potential joint-development sites, including the Capitol Heights, Cheverly, Landover and New Carrollton stations in Prince George's County. In the District, the Anacostia, Deanwood, Benning Road, Fort Totten and Navy Yard stations are listed as potential sites for development.

"One of the things we've been falling behind in is we haven't been developing fast enough around the Metro system," Mr. Trotter said.

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