ULI Washington recently released a Technical Assistance Panel Report, titled “Connections and Community: Knitting Together La Plata’s Center,” which recommended a host of strategies aimed at spurring and enhancing redevelopment in downtown La Plata.
Located in Charles County, La Plata, is one of the Metropolitan Washington region’s growing suburban and exurban commuter community. The Town of La Plata has long envisioned improving its downtown into a place where the community can come together and improve the economic vitality of the downtown while preserving and enhancing the historic character of the area.
The sponsor for the TAP was the La Plata Town Center Corporation (LPTCC), which was created in 2011 and is dedicated to the mission of downtown development. The LPTCC is an independent nonprofit and is comprised of representatives of the La Plata development community, which includes Architects, Developers, Business Owners, Hospital Administrator, Development Attorneys, County Planners, County Economic Development Staff, and is chaired currently by the Mayor of the Town of La Plata.
The study area’s existing conditions highlight its challenges and strengths. On one hand, vehicular congestion, fragmented ownership, and two major property owners holding 1/3 of the 15.5-acre study area hinder redevelopment prospects. On the other hand, the concentration of parcels, existing utility infrastructure, and market strength of the study area create opportunities for redevelopment.
Recommendations from the Panel touch on issues relating to transportation, connectivity, and circulation; highest and best use for development; design; funding; prioritization; and implementation. As part of the recommendations, the Panel developed two concept plans for the study area. The Panel emphasized that these plans are just two examples of several different possibilities for redevelopment, and highlighted that multiple design approaches could achieve the desired outcome for the study area.
The Panel was chaired by Andy Brown, Stanford Properties. Panelists also included: Daniel Anderton, Dewberry; Brian Cullen, Keane Enterprises; Melina Duggal, Duggal Real Estate Investors; Daniel Hardy, Renaissance Planning Group; Donny James, Revenue Authority of Prince George’s County; Julia Koster, National Capital Planning Commission; Paul Moyer, VHB; and Suman Sorg, DLR Group | Sorg. Over the course of two days, Panelists met with members of the LPTCC, toured the study area, and spoke with a variety of stakeholders in order to gather information and formulate recommendations.
For a full report, click here.