Just up the road from College Park, work has begun on the first of two projects in Greenbelt that could add roughly 8,000 homes and millions of square feet of office and retail space to the town, founded during the Great Depression as a federally-sponsored model city. Years in the planning, the projects continue to elicit mixed emotions from residents of the close-knit community and the surrounding neighborhoods worried about traffic, crime, and other impacts of development.
Work has begun on the massive Greenbelt Station Towne Centre, a large multi-use project planned for 240 acres of land adjacent the Greenbelt Metro station. The project is being developed by Petrie Ross Ventures. As it is currently planned, the finished project will feature approximately 2,200 “luxury” residential units, over 1 million square feet of retail, and 1 million square feet of office space in a complex of rowhomes and towers up to 12 stories tall, however the developer told the College Park City Council they are considering even taller buildings – up to 18 stories. The developer estimates the project could result in over 7,000 jobs when complete. Interested buyers can register with Pulte homes to be added to a list for more information. Detailed information about the project’s conceptual site plan approval from the county is available on this website.
The Diamondback reported in August of 2005 that the developer and the College Park City Council negotiated an agreement where the project’s builder would pay the city $2.5 million and construct a pedestrian walkway to connect the project with the city of College Park. An open space concept plan we obtained from December includes over three acres of plazas and parks, including a 1-acre plaza at the entrance of the metro station, shown below:
We will examine the controversial second major project, Springhill Lake, and a proposal by the owners of Beltway Plaza for residential construction on their property in a subsequent post. The New York Times recently examined the projects in the article, “Merging the Old With the New In a Washington Suburb.”