NEW CARROLLTON – A development four years in the making is finally becoming a reality at the New Carrollton Metro station.
On Oct. 4, county officials, representatives from developer Urban Atlantic and executives from Kaiser Permanente health system gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of Kaiser’s new mid-Atlantic regional headquarters at the New Carrollton Metro station. The $100 million first phase of the $1 billion project will be located on land formerly used as a Metro parking lot on the Garden City Drive side of the station.
“Of course it’s about healthcare, of course that’s what we do, but it’s also about creating healthy communities. It has economic development, job opportunities for people, healthy environments,” said Kim Horn, regional president of Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States. “This is like a perfect project to embody everything that Kaiser Permanente’s about.”
The 200,000-square foot building will include office space for 850 employees, a retail component on the first floor, healthy on-site dining choices and a fitness facility, as well as a parking garage. It is part of a larger, master-planned mixed use development of the New Carrollton Metro station that will feature multi-family dwelling units and additional retail options. The total build-out on both sides of the station will exceed 1 million square feet, according to Paul Wiedefeld, general manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).
“For us as an agency, it’s important because it’s a way to get much more usage out of the system for very few dollars added to it,” he said.
County officials have been working to redevelop the site for four years, and described it as a bit of an uphill battle. But the county, as well as private partners like Urban Atlantic, remained committed because of the potential of the site, which is easily accessible from US 50 and I-495 and is served by Greyhound bus, Metrorail, local bus routes, Amtrak and MARC commuter trains and, soon, the Purple Line light rail.
“I have to say that I stand here a little bit in awe today of the moment that we’re all experiencing,” said Prince George’s County Council Vice-Chair Dannielle Glaros. “We have had New Carrollton as a vision for such a long time here in Prince George’s County. And not just us, WMATA, the region, has looked at this transportation hub, looked at the surface parking lots that surround it, and said ‘what a great opportunity.’”
County Executive Rushern Baker, III, said even before he was elected to the position, he wondered why New Carrollton hadn’t taken off given the transit assets.
“That’s the question I asked when I came in, ‘why is it taking so long for New Carrollton to take off?’ That's why, three years ago, we started here, because it has everything you should have to build a thriving community and attract businesses,” he said.
Baker attributes this project’s success to partnerships between county government, WMATA and the private sector- which came about with concerted effort.
“I think it’s a combination of things. One, having the county focused like a laserbeam on these great opportunity areas like New Carrollton. The other is actually getting WMATA to understand it’s not just taking people back and forth, but it’s also doing economic development in a real way. All of those things started coming together and we started to attract partnerships,” he said.
Glaros also praised Kaiser Permanente for being a strong partner with the county, not just in this headquarters project but in other ways as well.
“Kaiser is an amazing partner. They’ve been a partner in Prince George’s for a really long time. They’ve been a partner in our Port Towns community, they’ve worked with me and my colleagues on many pieces of legislation supporting healthy foods and healthy opportunities here in Prince George’s County, and I can’t be more excited that they are the office building that’s coming here, because I know that the partnership is just going to continue to grow with them,” she said.
The project was also helped along by the opening of the headquarters of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, which creates daily foot traffic, and the expansion of education technology company 2U, which added 1,000 jobs to its headquarters on the other side of the tracks.
Vicki Davis, managing partner at Urban Atlantic, said the developer plans to support other county businesses through construction and procurement contracts. It has set a 20 percent county-based business participation goal and a 25 percent minority-owned business participation goal.
“It is really going to be a lot of hard work to make it happen, and I think it’s going to be terrific,” she said.
The building is expected to open next year.