Leadership Insights from Marcel Acosta
What a different world we’re living in. With many of us holding online office meetings we’re thinking about things that weren’t on anyone’s
May 26, 2020
In May 2020, ULI Washington hosted the event “A New Decade of Development in Prince George’s County to kick off ULI Washington’s new Prince George’s Initiative Council. This opportunity is open to both associate and full members of ULI Washington; further information and registration details can be found on ULI’s Navigator website.
Previously planned as an in-person event, a panel of prominent voices in the Prince George’s development and planning communities shared their experiences and plans for work within the county. Panelists included:
A link to the full video of the event can be accessed on ULI’s Knowledge Finder which has been made available for free to both members and non-members.
Early on, Angie Rodgers responded to a question regarding how Prince George’s County had responded so far to COVID-19 and how its plans would be affected in the future. She highlighted four products – a business relief fund providing $20 million to county businesses in loans and grants, a fund providing $200 cash cards to individuals who became unemployed during COVID in addition to state funds, funding to artists + art organizations that had their programing disrupted and an emergency rental assistance fund for individual households.
Nina Albert spoke about WMATA and its upcoming projects in the county. She acknowledged that the road to recovery could take over a year, but noted that she continued hearing interest from developers who were focused on long-term planning. She called attention to the need for bus service connections to both WMATA and the MARC system that continued to be relevant given COVID-19. Specifically, she spoke about successes in West Hyattsville around the arts community and a culture of entrepreneurship had caused WMATA to focus its development in-line with the city.
Jeff Kacye of Bozzuto responded to a question about why the county made a good home for the company. He expressed excitement towards working with Angie, and a history of working alongside the county on projects. He mentioned that between development, construction and management that the company saw itself as having an urbanistic approach, and that the county presented opportunities for densification in locations like Greenbelt. He also noted the accessibility to locations like D.C., Baltimore, and Annapolis made for a well-positioned place to expand into several markets.
Last, Bobby Gilbane spoke about the ongoing development at the West Hyattsville Station. He noted that the site had a history of bankruptcy and incomplete plans, and that Gilbane acquired the property in 2015 knowing it would require a lot of work to develop into successful transit oriented development. He noted the importance of working with agencies such as Parks and Rec to utilize existing space and get approvals for safe development in floodplains. Bobby shared the first phase included residential units as well as a park and trail network, with a priority towards public safety.
After the panel, participants were able to virtually network using Zoom’s breakout room functions with each other and the panelists themselves.
The Prince George’s Initiative Council represents the first geographically-defined council offered in ULI Washington’s history. Prince George’s County is home to a vibrant community present in the greater Washington region and home to many sites and exciting developments. In the history of the greater region, the progress of Prince George’s County has been overlooked by some as attention and interest was provided to other outlying municipalities. ULI Washington recognizes both this history and exciting future of development in the county, and seeks to convene this Initiative Council to bring together both those already engaged in the larger development community and those who seek to learn more about it.
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