HYATTSVILLE – Prince George’s Plaza in Hyattsville could be sporting a new name as soon as next spring, thanks to a months-long effort between the city and county governments.
Visitors to Hyattsville’s main shopping corridor could find themselves in a newly rebranded “Hyattsville Crossing” as soon as March, said Hyattsville Assistant City Administrator Jim Chandler.
Chandler gave a presentation on the so-far 16-month process of rebranding the area at the Nov. 20 Hyattsville City Council meeting.
“The past 16 months have involved a series of stakeholder workshops talking through Prince George’s Plaza – what it means in terms of experiences to its various owners, to those who represent Prince George’s Plaza, quite honestly to a lot folks that live here in the city of Hyattsville,” he said. “And really trying to dig a little deep in figuring out creatively how we distinguish this area and, quite honestly, celebrate this area.”
The rebranding process began last year when the county and city completed the work of creating a new vision for the area with the updated Prince George’s Plaza Transit District Development Plan. That plan laid out the hopes for the area, as well as wrote in some rules and regulations for future growth. The plan also recommended that a rebranding of the area be undertaken.
Now, after months of work, stakeholder work sessions, and countless meetings with owners of property in the Prince George’s Plaza area and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), Chandler said the city feels comfortable moving forward with the new name.
“What we figured out real quickly is we have a name that can stand on its own, that needs very little explanation,” Chandler said. “The name will reveal itself. You know when you know.”
However, while knowing may be part of the equation, Councilman Thomas Wright noted that finding a new name was not a super easy process. Streetsense, the design and strategy firm hired to help the process along, was specifically tasked with helping create a unifying identity for the area.
Wright recalls there being nearly a dozen names put forward at the stakeholder meetings and the choices being overwhelming.
“There were 10, maybe a dozen, options to chose,” he said. “It was overwhelming from what I remember.”
Chandler said the current name, Prince George’s Plaza, focuses on just one development of area – The Mall at Prince George’s, which formerly held the plaza name – but now that the area is home to more development, he feels it deserves a better, more inclusive name.
“Prince George’s Plaza is not a name that excites people,” he said.
And people gravitated toward Hyattsville Crossing, or HVX.
“A huge portion of the group sided with that, so it wasn’t just something that was a fly by night thing. It really was given quite an effort,” Wright said.
Still, while Hyattsville said it feels content that there is “near unanimous consensus” on the name, District 2 County Councilwoman Deni Taveras said she thinks the city should consider including more voices, especially from consumers of the area’s retail.
“I have some reservations in regards to that because I think Prince George’s mall is a mall that is serviced by a lot of people. And, at the end of the day, its fruitful because a lot of people from outside of Hyattsville make it profitable and I think we need to recognize that,” she said. “And I think that that voice, those people from outside that make it profitable was not involved in this process.”
However, Hyattsville Mayor Candace Hollingsworth said the process did include many stakeholders and voices and thanked Streetsense and city staff for the work they did on the project.
“Where we landed is a place that definitely had a lot of voices involved and the property owners as well. Especially the largest property owner there, to be pleased with the outcome, I think is a tremendous thing,” she said.
Looking forward, Chandler said The Mall at Prince George’s has ok’d the name while WMATA has said the name fits within its guidelines for additions to Metro line stop names.
Chandler said the city will work on new visual elements to kick-start the rebranding campaign and will bring them to the community in February and March to garner public opinion.
“At that point we’ll anticipate some limited roll out, which would include primarily public infrastructure – your benches, your garbage cans, some banner and things like that,” he said. “What we anticipate is, as you see investment continue along East-West Highway, along Belcrest Road, that the name Hyattsville Crossing will start to be incorporated into some of the infrastructure.”