A proposal for a merchandise logistics center slated to house an Amazon warehouse near a residential neighborhood in Upper Marlboro has been withdrawn.
The 78-acre site owned by Walton Global Holdings faced a legal challenge from residents in two residential communities — Westphalia Town Center and Parkside — who believed a proposed warehouse didn’t fit in that area. Some residences are still under construction in the Westphalia neighborhood.
Rumors swirled the applicant, Conshocken, Pa.-based Duke Partnership Limited Corp., would have housed an Amazon, based on the online giant operating in other parts of the country on properties owned by Duke Partnership. The company is also registered as Duke Realty, headquartered in Indianapolis.
“In spite of this extremely disappointing news for Prince George’s County, we still believe that this is the best site for the logistics center, which would have brought 1,800 direct jobs and hundreds of indirect jobs to this County-approved site,” Walton Executive Vice President Edward R. Fleming said in a statement Friday, Aug. 23. “We will still move forward in partnership with Duke Realty as we assess all options for the future of Westphalia Town Center.”
County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said Prince George’s will work with the company to determine “more suitable locations in the county where they may be able to bring their products.”
“To those who purchased homes at Westphalia and were promised certain things, I want you to know that my administration will work with the developer to help bring the retail, dining and other amenities you were promised,” Alsobrooks said in a statement Friday.
That’s exactly what residents such as Leathey Chandler want.
“[The developer] promised us a grocery store and shops,” said Chandler, who moved into the Parkside single-family development this year. “Build it and let the retail people come in.”
The property that sits along Woodyard Road parallel to Pennsylvania Avenue at Westphalia Town Center plans to build offices, restaurants, stores and other amenities.
However, the county council made a minor zoning change this year to amend the mixed-use transportation zoning district and allow for a logistics center to move in.
The project proposed to construct a five-story, 800,000-square-foot building and bring more than 1,500 jobs with an estimated salary to start at $15 an hour. The business would open 24 hours a day with daily trips from about 150 tractor-trailers.
According to a May 7 council Planning, Housing and Economic Development committee report, it notes “the proposed guidelines will not adversely affect the surrounding residential community.”
After council approved the zoning change, the Planning Commission granted approval of the plan with conditions such as street improvements, a more aesthetic wall and shuttle bus service for workers.
The case may have heard in late September or early October before District Council, a body comprised of county council members who review land-use and zoning matters.
County Councilwoman Jolene Ivey (D-District 5) of Cheverly said she spoke last week with an attorney who represented a developer about the possibility of moving a business in Westphalia because of the logistics center.
“Suddenly, there was a lot of activity and interest in retailers and restaurants opening down there,” she said. “I’m sure all that goes away, but that’s fine. That’s just the way it goes. There will be someplace it goes in the DMV.”
Although this project isn’t happening in Westphalia, residents plan to push for a zoning change that would quash talks of a logistics center in their neighborhood entirely.
“Another warehouse could come in there,” Chandler said. “We have to fight to get that rezoned properly.”