Laurel experiencing redevelopment 'tidal wave'

The city of Laurel is in the middle of a "tidal wave" of redevelopment. That's the assessment of Karl Brendle, the city's director of Community and Business Planning.

"We're (going to be) in the middle, when all of this manifests itself," Brendle said Tuesday, Jan. 22, adding that some Laurel projects became stalled during the recession and have dragged on for five to six years.

Two projects, Hawthorne Place and the Towne Centre at Laurel, both received approvals to begin construction in August, which started the "tidal wave," Brendle said.

Hawthorne Place is expected to have 306 luxury apartments on 11 acres along Staggers Road off Route 1 northbound, near Bowie Road.

With the mall nearly demolished, Brendle said residents can expect to see buildings begin taking shape by the end of summer and that developers Greenberg Gibbons Co. could announce new tenants in February or March.

Building in the arts district

The Laurel Planning Commission acted on three other major redevelopment plans at its Jan. 16 meeting, including a mixed-use apartment complex on C Street; a hotel, retail and residential development on more than 80 acres off Van Dusen Road at Interstate 95; and a project to build more than 300 apartments on the site of the MARC train station's commuter parking lot at Main Street and Route 1 northbound.

The commission unanimously approved a final plan of the revitalization overlay for the C Street project, clearing the way for developer Klingbeil Capital Management to begin construction which will replace the former Laurel Police Department building with more than 140 apartments and retail space.

The project is waiting on permits from Prince George's County to begin construction, according to Jim Callard, president of Klingbeil Capital Management.

Callard estimated that the C Street project, initially called C Street Flats, could begin as soon as July and said the project is expected to take 18 months to complete.

Klingbeil's proposal calls for 142 apartments, including one- and two-bedroom units, and 3,000 square feet of retail space. The project is expected to be the "future hub" of the city's arts and entertainment district, with apartments and retail space expected to be used for artist's residences, studios and galleries, Brendle said.

Two more projects coming

At its meeting last week, the Planning Commission also unanimously approved new zoning for the project at the MARC train station; and the Van Dusen Road project, which is called Westside.

Patriot Realty, the developer for the MARC station project, is proposing a four- to six-story building with 310 apartments and 10,000 square feet of retail space occupying the ground floor.

A more than 300-space, four-level parking garage is expected to be constructed off Lafayette Avenue by the developer to accommodate MARC riders.

The development on Van Dusen Road could include a four-story hotel, a maximum of 500 multifamily homes, about 80 townhouses and 200,000 square feet of retail space.

Strittmatter Land, a division of Virginia-based Strittmatter excavation company, owns the more than 80-acre site which includes 22 acres formerly belonging to the Prince George's County Board of Education. The city annexed 62 acres of the site, not including the school board site, in July.

The planning commission unanimously approved a mixed use transit zoning for both the Strittmatter and former Board of Education properties. The map amendments are now set to go in front of the City Council on Monday, Jan. 28.

Even with the council's approval, because a portion of the property was annexed from the county, the Prince George's County Council will have to approve the zoning change, Brendle said.

Both of these projects now head to the City Council for approval before a final plan is submitted to the Planning Commission for final approvals before construction begins, Brendle said.

He said that wouldn't happen until later this year.

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