Opinion: Redskins’ FedEx Field departure presents chance to fix mistakes

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A large stadium, featuring burgundy and gold seating sections, is surrounded by a massive sea of parking. The lot is nearly filled.

Staff Sgt. Christopher A. Marasky/U.S. Air Force photo

FedEx Field, home of the NFL Washington Redskins, seen from the air in 2010.

The Washington Redskins have called FedEx Field home since 1997. With the Redskins in Landover, Maryland, Prince George’s County hasn’t truly reaped the benefits other jurisdictions would see with a major league football team. As the 30-year lease slowly approaches in 2027, the Redskins are looking for a new place to call home.

One potential new homesite in Prince George’s County, is Oxon Cove Park and Farm in Oxon Hill, Maryland. The 300-acre park sits just inside the Capital Beltway, across from the MGM National Harbor. It may be a great site, but the cons outweigh the pros for Prince George’s County. The site lacks both metro and commuter rail accessibility, making it heavily car dependent. Oxon Cove Park and Farm is owned by federal government and preserved as parkland. Although this site may clog our roads and highways, its location may attract people to enjoy the National Harbor experience.

We gladly appreciate the Sports and Learning Complex, the upgraded paved brick sidewalks along Sheriff Road, and the generated tax revenue, but the economic development impact with the arrival of the Washington Redskins, has been minimal. Let’s take a look at the Nationals Park in Washington, DC, where the economic impact has surpassed expectations and beyond.

The Nationals Park in the Navy Yard neighborhood of Washington, DC, opened in March 2008. This was the peak of the Great Recession. The Nationals Park has a stop along the Metro’s green line.  Prior to the ballpark arrival, this waterfront community was known for its vacant lots, dilapidated buildings, sex and strip clubs, and crime infestation.  Fast forward ten years later, to 2018.

The United States Department of Transportation moved their headquarters to neighborhood, the housing stock has quadrupled, average household income has doubled to $78, 265, Whole Foods and Harris Teeter have opened, along with 52 new restaurants. 

This is the type of economic development Prince George’s County has yearned for with the arrival of Washington Redskins. Unfortunately, it hasn’t fully come to fruition. The Morgan Boulevard Metro Station offers 400+ new townhomes and apartments but lacks the commercial and office space needed to help improve home values around the station and the quality of living. There are large parcels of land ripe for development adjacent to the Metro Station. The Capital Beltway is within a half mile, the redevelopment of the Boulevard at Capital Centre along with the new 231-bed Prince George’s Regional Medical Center, Woodmore Towne Centre, and new home construction, the positions the Landover area for an exponential growth surge. Instead we have a vacant Landover Mall site, half occupied Landover Crossing Shopping Center, an abundance of surface parking lots, lack of development connectivity around the stadium, and most importantly, clogged roads filled with Redskins fans.

The exit of the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland presents numerous development opportunities for Prince George’s County. I envision a high-density mixed-use pedestrian-friendly town center that allows residents and guests a place to live, eat, work, and, play. It affords Prince George’s County the opportunity to capitalize, maximize, and further expand on Downtown Largo. 

By Greg Garland

Long-time Prince George’s County resident Greg Garland has several years experience working with permitting, planning, and zoning. He closely-tracks commercial real estate news in Prince George’s County on his recently-launched website Greg’s Viewpoint, where this post first appeared, and his Facebook group. This post has been republished here with Garland’s permission.

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