DHCD move will stimulate development and job creation in Prince George’s County
ANNAPOLIS, MD – June 18, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — Governor Martin O’Malley, joined by Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, state and local officials and community leaders, officially launched the process to move the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) into Prince George’s County. Relocating the 330+ employee agency to Prince George’s County serves as a milestone in the Governor’s transit-oriented development vision for state agencies. Further, the move brings an agency dedicated to neighborhood revitalization closer to one of the population centers it serves most, while promoting smart growth and sustainable communities. To date in FY 2010, DHCD invested the largest amount of mortgage financing in Prince George’s County.
“Prince George’s County is the second biggest county in our State. Yet in the 375 year history of our State, it has not been home to the headquarters of a state agency, until now,” said Governor O’Malley. “Today’s announcement fulfills a commitment we made to the people of Prince George’s County four years ago. It moves an agency dedicated to revitalizing communities to an area of our state that is rich in history and diversity, capitalizes on the infrastructure investments we’ve made as One Maryland, and has the potential to spark even more in private development and job creation throughout the County.”
“Governor O’Malley understands the importance of Transit-Oriented Development and the creation of livable, walkable, sustainable communities and is leading by example. The decision to relocate DHCD in Prince George’s County highlights our shared commitment to the people of Prince George’s County, and the Smart Growth principles that we share,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “In addition, the creation of the Transit-Orientated Development Designation Initiative will ensure that we provide local governments and private developers with the necessary resources, information and collaboration to invest in TOD projects here in Prince George’s County and across the State. While these are difficult economic times and it will take commercial real estate markets several years to fully recover, we know that our commitment to TOD will help set the stage for a faster recovery.”
Governor O’Malley announced a July 16 issuance of a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI), inviting commercial landowners, developers, and other interested parties to participate in a process that will bring state agency headquarters to Prince George’s County. The Department of General Services is planning a pre-proposal conference to be held in the County approximately 10 days following the release of the RFEI. A Request for Proposals would follow the RFEI process. The State intends to complete the bid process by the end of the year.
Consistent with a 2007 Executive Order Governor O’Malley issued to focus development around the state’s transit facilities, the Governor outlined the desire for DHCD to become an anchor that will stimulate transit-oriented development (TOD) in Prince George’s, capitalizing on the significant infrastructure investments the State has dedicated in mass transportation in the County.
TOD is a critical component of the State’s Smart, Green and Growing initiative aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions, sprawl development and traffic congestion, while fostering economic growth. TOD creates compact, walkable neighborhoods around transit stations and increases transit ridership by creating destinations within a short walk of stations. It also offers residents a convenient commute to jobs, shopping and entertainment in the region. The Governor announced 14 locations today throughout Maryland that will receive priority for state development assistance.
“This move will help us better promote our Smart Growth agenda and reinforce our sustainable communities efforts,” said DHCD Secretary Ray Skinner.
Relocating DHCD to Prince George’s County would have a significant economic stimulating impact as well. Locating DHCD in existing leased space or in new development would help unlock the economic development potential of the County, establishing a commercial market for developers drawing investment in retail and residential space, creating jobs and stimulating further development. Further, the relocation places more than 330 employees into the County, creating a greater need for restaurants, retail, and other services in surrounding areas.
“The relocation of a vital community development agency provides the state with an unparalleled opportunity to inspire, invest and incubate small and large business to start or expand in the TOD,” said secretary Christian Johansson. “Our Department will work alongside the business and community leaders and economic development and elected officials to ensure that we support the development of retailers, restaurants, and services to meet the needs of the state’s employees and the Department’s operations.”
The move also places DHCD closer to federal partners located in the Washington, DC area. Relocating DHCD to Prince George’s County serves as an example for federal facilities which have long under-utilized available commercial space in the County.
Today’s relocation announcement represents the culmination of a multi-year process that began in 2008, when the General Assembly created a Task Force to study whether a site in Prince George’s County, where no State agencies are headquartered, could meet a State agency’s needs. In 2009, Governor O’Malley signed an Executive Order designed to focus future development around the state’s transit facilities. The order directed state agencies to formally evaluate the potential of locating state office space and laboratories in developments adjacent to transit stations when seeking space in the future. In January of this year, the Task Force issued it’s final report to the Governor, recommending DHCD’s relocation to Prince George’s County.