Early site plan re­vealed for Wal­dorf Sta­tion

Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Dept. talks de­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tives

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By MICHAEL SYKES II msykes@somd­news.com

Wal­dorf will have a much dif­fer­ent look over the next few years, and the process to start chang­ing the land­scape has be­gun.

Tay­lor Yewell, the man- ager for the Wal­dorf Ur­ban Re­de­vel­op­ment Cor­ri­dor, and De­bra Jones, chief of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment in the Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment De­part­ment, came to de­liver a brief­ing on the de­part­ment’s plans for fu­ture de­vel­op­ment and out­reach in the com­mu­nity with the Charles County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers on Tues­day.

Yewell said the next steps the de­part­ment will take will start to de­velop more over the next six months to a year. There has been pub­lic and pri- vate out­reach to busi­ness own­ers in the com­mu­nity about the re­zon­ing that took place in 2010, the re­de­vel­op­ment cor­ri­dor and the pos­si­bil­ity of a new civ- ic cen­ter in that area.

“We want to make sure that ten­ants and prop­erty own­ers un­der­stand what we can do on our part to give them a softer land­ing than they would other- wise have,” Yewell said.

Right now, he said, the Wal­dorf Civic Cen­ter has three pre­lim­i­nary sketch- es for a site plan that are still be­ing cus­tom­ized to fit the area best. The idea is to have the prop­erty built along Old Wash­ing- ton Road and the U.S. 301 cor­ri­dor in the area of the Old Wal­dorf School.

“These sce­nar­ios will be fleshed out,” Yewell said.

The idea, he said, is to im­pact the area enough to where the build­ing has max­i­mum ef­fi­ciency, but it also needs to be cost ef- fec­tive and re­spon­sive to the dif­fer­ent needs of the com­mu­nity.

The de­part­ment has also been ap­proached by a re­li­gious group look­ing to build a mixed-use cen­ter in the north­ern por­tion of the cor­ri­dor. The fa­cil­ity

would con­tain some res­i­den­tial spa­ces, a sanc­tu­ary, re­tail space and a fam­ily recre­ation cen­ter.

Com­mis­sioner Ken Robin­son (D) wanted to know if the group would have to pay prop­erty taxes on the de­vel­op­ment with it hav­ing a place of wor­ship on the land, but Yewell said the de­part­ment has to do more re­search to find out.

For the tran­sit-ori­ented de­vel­op­ment area in Wal­dorf, Green­berg Gib­bon’s pur­chase of Wal­dorf Sta­tion is a ma­jor key to the area’s de­vel­op­ment. Yewell pre­sented an early ren­der­ing of the area pur­chased by the com­pany with a “fairly sig­nif­i­cant” re­tail com­po­nent and a “mul­ti­fam­ily” res­i­den­tial com­po­nent.

Robin­son said the county is ex­cited about Green­berg Gib­bons’ suc­cess with mixed use prop­er­ties and is look­ing for­ward to see­ing what they have in the works.

“They have a ter­rific rep- uta­tion on projects they have done through­out the state,” Robin­son said.

Robin­son said he was “sur­prised” by the amount of de­tail that has been pre­sented on the project al­ready. Yewell said the com­pany is look- ing for a “high pro­file” gro­cer ten­ant and has ap- proached the de­part­ment for help in re­cruit­ing one.

For the spe­cific ten­ant they are cur­rently in ne- go­ti­a­tions with, which re­mains undis­closed un- til any deal is fi­nal­ized, they have an in­ter­est in at­tract­ing mil­i­tary per- son­nel. Yewell said with Joint Base An­drews be­ing closer than Naval Sup­port Fa­cil­ity In­dian Head and the num­ber of per­son- nel liv­ing in the area, the Wal­dorf lo­ca­tion is con­sid­ered ap­peal­ing.

Fi­nally, Yewell said, the de­part­ment is look­ing to part­ner with the Town of In­dian Head to bring more busi­ness there. Af­ter a tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance panel in the town a few months ago, he said, there is an un­der­stand­ing of what needs to be done and mo­men­tum is com- ing out of the town to get those things done.

The de­part­ment is work- ing with the town to pack- age non­profit busi­ness in­cu­ba­tors into a cen­tral lo­ca­tion in the town to be­gin to cre­ate and at­tract busi- nesses into the cur­rent va­cant spa­ces lo­cated in In­dian Head, Yewell said.

In terms of re­de­velop- ment, In­dian Head has “the most im­me­di­ate po­ten­tial,” Yewell said, be­cause they do not face the same hur­dles as Wal- dorf does with rapid tran- sit and are not wait­ing on any projects that have not been ini­ti­ated.

“We’ll be mov­ing for- ward with that,” he said.

Com­mis­sion­ers’ Pres- ident Peter Mur­phy (D) said the de­part­ment has done a good job of “tak­ing a very proac­tive ap­proach” to re­spond­ing to peo­ple, but also be­ing proac­tive in their de­vel­op­ment ap­proaches and look­ing for busi­ness.

“That in­creases our chances of build­ing our com­mer­cial base here in the county, so we ap­pre­ci­ate that,” he said.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Artist’s con­cep­tion of Wal­dorf Sta­tion de­vel­op­ment as de­signed by owner Green­berg Gib­bons.

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