A proposal to redevelop the aging Beltway Plaza Mall into a mixed-use town center took a big step forward last week as the Prince George’s County Planning Board unanimously approved preliminary plans for the project. The vote took place after hours of testimony at the Planning Board’s Feb. 20, 2020 meeting. “This is a generational project. Every now and then you get one of those projects that will change Prince George’s County.
Hyattsville City Council has delayed consideration of the measure. The measure was removed from the agenda late into City Council’s Feb. 18, 2020, meeting. The meeting was approaching midnight, and the measure’s sponsor pulled it from the agenda for the sake of time. The proposal is expected to come back before City Council at its next meeting.
Editor’s note: See correction below story. After two hours of deliberations, Greenbelt City Council voted to support preliminary plans for the first-phase of a proposed redevelopment of Beltway Plaza, but with a hefty list of conditions. The five-to-two vote, with Mayor Colin Byrd and Councilor Rodney Roberts against, came at Greenbelt’s Feb. 10, 2020, City Council meeting. Noteable among the 20 conditions are items requiring the developers to set aside 25,000 square feet for recreation space, and a requirement that at least 15 percent of the total residential units be available for ownership, rather than just rentals.
Thanks to reader Stuart Adams for flagging this one: The developers behind the ambitious Southern Gateway Project in College Park are circulating leasing materials that provide new details about the planned development, and hint at how the project is being marketed to potential tenants. Among the newest details are renderings showing the amount of anchor and secondary retail space available with the project, which comes from Bozzuto development. Included in the plans are a potential 20,160 square foot space for a “health club” and 14,660 square feet available for a “specialty grocer,” though it must be emphasized those are merely conceptual suggestions. But – and this is the exciting part – according to project’s Loopnet listing, only nine of the smaller retail spaces are available for lease, indicating that the larger anchor spaces have been leased out already. Route 1 Reporter has reached out to the developers after hours for comment and will update this story if more is learned. The marketing materials lean heavily into the area’s demographic profile, noting that 20,620 residents with an average annual household income of $108,710 and an average daytime population of 18,640.
In a wide-ranging interview with Route 1 Reporter, Maryland Comptroller – and early candidate for the state’s next governor – talks about a possible Beltway widening in Prince George’s County, Kirwan Commission school funding, and his own political future.
The Prince George’s County Planning Board delayed until Feb. 20, 2020, consideration of preliminary plans for Beltway Plaza’s proposed redevelopment. The vote to delay occurred at the Planning Board’s Feb. 6, 2020, meeting. The delay was sought by the mall’s owners to give time for the city of Greenbelt to weigh in on the matter, which it is expected to do at its Feb.
Last year, Leonard Shand was killed in a hail of gunfire by police in Hyattsville after a 30-minute walking standoff. That day, before the shooting, police tried unsuccessfully to tase Shand three times. That aspect of the events leading up to Shand’s death led Route 1 Reporter to file a Public Information Act request with city officials seeking documents quantifying and detailing all taser misfires between January 2010 and December 2018. Earlier this week, after paying $480 in fees (thank you subscribers), Hyattsville officials turned over dozens of pages of use-of-force reports and technical reports filed by city police officers.
Now, Hyattsville officials say they decline to speak with Route 1 Reporter about the contents of those documents. That should be troubling for government transparency advocates and police reform activists looking for the city to make good on its “commitment to transparency”.
Already, Hyattsville city officials have been selective with their disclosures about the incident in a cynical attempt to manage public relations.
Prince George’s County’s 13th fire chief is Tiffany Green, the first woman to hold the position. Green was sworn in Tuesday at a ceremony in Upper Marlboro, fetted by county officials including County Executive Angela Alsobrooks.
Green is a 21-year veteran of the Prince George’s County Fire and EMS Department. She succeeds Benjamin Barksdale, who retired in 2019.
“When I started in this department in 1999, the concept of a female fire chief was unheard of,” said Green during remarks after her swearing in. “I am noroed to be your fire chief. I have sat where you are.
Two Hyattsville City Councilors – Bart Lawrence and Danny Schaible – along with Mayor Candace Hollingsworth, had tough words for the developers behind a proposal to build a mix of townhomes and single-family homes near Magruder Park. During Hyattsville’s Feb. 3, 2020, City Council meeting, Hollingsworth accused Norma Rivera, the attorney representing developer Werrlein Properties, of being dismissive of city concerns and requests for more information.
“There have been requests for different pieces of information. The responses we have received have been as if we are crazy for asking for the information we’ve asked for,” said Hollingsworth. “I hope the next time you are before this body, you have a different approach.”