Metro Seeks to Revitalize Rail Stations

A rendering of the mixed-use development at the College Park Metro station (Courtesy of Metro)

Metro could receive millions of dollars from housing and retail development in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, projects that would hopefully spruce up areas near train stations, officials said.

The dollar amount Metro could receive in selling its parcel to develop the Grosvenor-Strathmore station in Bethesda depends on the number of units that could be built on the land approved by the Montgomery County Council, which could happen later this year. The agency could receive at least $13.5 million for a developer to construct 430 residential units and nearly 12,000 square feet of business space at the College Park station in Prince George’s.

Nina Albert, Metro’s real estate director, said there’s still signs from 2007 advertising “development coming soon” at the station.

“Everybody is very motivated to move this project as quickly as possible,” she said.

Metro must schedule a public hearing this year to discuss the College Park project that includes removal of the 530-space parking lot in order to construct the mixed-use development. Commuters can still park at the nearly 1,300-space garage near the five-acre site.

Gilbane Development Co., headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, with an office in Baltimore, will be the developer to continue Prince George’s County’s push for transit-oriented development. The document states construction could start next year.

“This is very exciting,” Metro board member Malcolm Augustine, who represents Prince George’s, said at a committee meeting Thursday, Feb. 9. “There are some fantastic things happening in College Park. It will spur development on the eastern side of the tracks. This is a tremendous opportunity for Prince George’s County.”

In neighboring Montgomery County, Fivesquares Development of Northwest Metro would build at least 534 condominiums, townhouses and multi-family units and “a few thousand square feet of retail space,” according to a proposed resolution.

Similar to College Park, a 412-space parking lot in Bethesda would be eliminated. However, the same number of spaces would connect to the current parking garage so no parking spaces would be lost.

Meanwhile, a pilot program could be instituted this spring to sell food and drink in front of the station for a four-hour period in the afternoon only during the pre-development period. Food and beverages aren’t permitted on trains, so the program would target exiting riders, which would also help curtail food and other debris left inside the station.

The developer also proposes to enhance the front of the station with some artwork.

According to the proposed agreement between Metro and Fivesquares, possible temporary uses include music with the Music Center at Strathmore nearby.

Metro’s board of directors are expected to approve a public hearing for the College Park project and joint agreement with Fivesquare and pilot program at Grosvenor-Strathmore on Feb. 23.


About William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer 311 Articles
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