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EDC Tour in Prince George's County Focused on Expanded Development

Tracey Gold Bennett | , WI Staff Writer | 10/31/2011, 12:27 p.m.

Despite ongoing reports on the stagnating economy, there is fertile ground for growth of new and existing businesses in Prince George's County, as evidenced by the recent bus tour sponsored by County Executive Rushern Baker and the Economic Development Corporation (EDC).

The tour, which highlighted development in Prince George's and coincided with Maryland Economic Development Week, included participation of both county officials and members of the various local media outlets. Among the tour sites were the historically significant 125-acre LEED Silver Certified Brickyard Business Park in Beltsville, the Hillcrest Heights Shopping Center in Temple Hills 9which boasts a new 30,000 square-foot Evergreen Supermarket and TSI Exterior Wall Systems in Upper Marlboro.

As the tour progressed, other sites of special interest like Woodmore Town Center were pointed out.

"Woodmore Town Center is one of the jewels in the crown of mixed use development in the county. Anchored by JC Penney, Costco and Wegman's, its one of the major developments with one million square feet of space," said Dianna Jackson, EDC business development representative.

When the tour arrived at the Brick Yard Business Park on Mid Atlantic Blvd., Council member Mary Lehman boarded the bus and greeted visitors to the burgeoning site that will feature more than 650,000 square feet of mixed use office and warehouse space in a campus setting.

In the early 1900s the Washington Brick Company manufacturing complex and mine, occupied the site. Now, the project's buildings are being touted as sustainable and green. The project has also obtained LEED Silver certification for incorporating eco-friendly modes of construction, using recycled and locally sourced materials and producing minimal waste.

"We want to see Prince George's County participate in the green economy," said Baker." We believe [by participating in the green economy] we can attract federal and state dollars."

Meanwhile, residents in Hillcrest Heights will get 60 new jobs courtesy of new Evergreen Supermarket slated to open by the Thanksgiving holiday. The market will replace a Safeway which formerly occupied the location.

Another project discussed during the tour but not visited, was University of Maryland's East Campus development. The 38-acre parcel of land owned by the university will include relocation of its existing administration facilities, followed by construction of more than two million square feet of graduate and other housing as well as office and retail space.

"People will say there is no demand but this [the number of businesses securing and or vying for space in the county] proves clearly there is demand," said Del. Dereck Davis (Dist.25). "People want to be here."