SEABROOK - Jim Coleman, president and chief executive officer of Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation, referred to Prince George’s as “the dustiest county in the country,” and with good reason. From the Suitland Towne Square to the Largo regional medical center, county officials broke ground on numerous development projects over the past year.
Coleman said “this year was probably one of the busiest”regarding development.
In August, officials broke ground in Hyattsville on the Purple Line, a 16-mile, 21-stop light rail project between New Carrollton and Bethesda.
Construction on other projects continued throughout the year at existing Metro stops.
In early October, officials held a groundbreaking ceremony at the New Carrollton Metro station for a new $1 billion, 200,000 square foot mid-Atlantic regional headquarters for Kaiser Permanente.
Later on that month, federal and county officials broke ground on a new U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services headquarters near the Branch Avenue Metro station. The project is expected to bring 3,700 federal jobs to the county.
“I think we’ve had phenomenal and exponential growth with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services committing to its new headquarters facility at Branch Avenue, which will spur a new city of transit-oriented of development right there at Branch Avenue in the south part of county,” said Councilman Derrick Davis, who served as chair of the county council this past legislative year.
In November, ground broke on two long-awaited projects: the Towne Square at Suitland Federal Center and a new regional medical center in Largo.
The Suitland development, which is within a mile of the Suitland Metro station, will include 895 residential apartment housing units and single-family attached homes, 98,000 square feet of new retail and a 50,000 square foot performing arts center.
The project cost is $400 million and will create an estimated 12,000 construction jobs.
County Executive Rushern Baker, III said the Largo hospital is “going to mean a lot to the county.”
The $543 million, 600,000 square-foot teaching hospital, will include a 45-bay emergency department, a 15-bed specialty pediatric hospital, an ambulatory care center and medical office space.
When it opens, which is scheduled to be in 2021, the hospital will replace the current University of Maryland Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly.
Davis said the groundbreaking initiated the “total redevelopment of what will be downtown Largo.”
The regional medical center will directly bring over 1,300 new jobs to the county, and Coleman said it would “create over 10,000 new jobs in the Largo market.”
“These are all going to come from doctor’s offices, more professional services firms, assisted living firms, everything from specialist areas of cancer and cardiac treatment. You’re going to see nursing home facilities,” he said. “You’re going to see 10,000 new, high-wage medical, life-sciences jobs in Largo, just because of that brand-new beautiful medical regional medical center.”
Then, in early December, officials held a groundbreaking for a $35 million, 60,000 square-foot Children’s National Outpatient and Specialty Center at the Woodmore Towne Centre in Glenarden. The facility is anticipated to open in 2020.
Coleman said all these various groundbreakings mean more jobs are coming to the county.
“The dust is coming from all of the new jobs that are being created, all of the movement of the ground that’s being used to create new sites where our residents will have really great jobs,” he said.
Over the past four quarters, Prince George’s County has led the state of Maryland in job growth, according to data from the State of Maryland’s Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation.
Furthermore, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics report from June 2017, Prince George’s County has the 21st highest rate of employment growth (3.5 percent) out of the 347 largest counties in the U.S. This is the highest ranking any Maryland county received in the report.
Looking towards the future, Coleman is excited about the Purple Line, bringing another hotel to National Harbor, and the possibility of bringing Amazon to the county.
Even if Amazon chooses not to come to PG, Coleman believes other companies may utilize the proposed sites.
“If they (Amazon) don’t take us up on that, we right now have a great proposal that we’re currently targeting the top 25 fastest growing companies in the United States,” Coleman said. “We’re going to present to them as well, to let them know that Prince George’s County should be on their map when it comes to expansion.”
Baker’s vision for the future involves further development along the Metro.