A bird's eye rendering of the planned Carillon development by Retail Properties of America in Largo. The massive Prince George's County project will be adjacent to the new University of Maryland Capital Region Medical Center, which is under construction. - Original Credit: For The Baltimore Sun
A bird's eye rendering of the planned Carillon development by Retail Properties of America in Largo. The massive Prince George's County project will be adjacent to the new University of Maryland Capital Region Medical Center, which is under construction. - Original Credit: For The Baltimore Sun (HANDOUT)

When developers of a large complex of offices, shops, restaurants and apartments in the Washington suburbs open its first phase in 2021, they will be banking on a special draw: the University of Maryland Medical System’s newest hospital.

The University of Maryland Capital Region Medical Center is slated to open at about the same time on an adjacent site in Largo in Prince George’s County. It will replace the long-struggling Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly, about nine miles away, on 25 acres of land acquired in a three-way deal with the developer and county.

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Officials with the Retail Properties of America Inc., an Illinois-based real estate investment trust, said their development, called Carillon, will benefit from the 24-7 nature of a medical facility, providing traffic to all its offerings. The hospital workers, patients and visitors also will benefit from nearby housing, food and other amenities that will include a walking path, outdoor events and perhaps a farmer’s market.

The new project may need the extra boost. Retail-based developments have faced headwinds from online shopping and changing tastes, and the developers say they took years to decide what would work on the site.

“One of the big keys for retail is to have a population that is there all hours," said Craig Friedson, assistant vice president of development at Retail Properties of America. “A facility open 24-hours a day is a great driver.”

Retail Properties of America acquired the site, now about 50 acres, in 2005 but was unsure of what to do with the out-of-date shopping center that had seen multiple bankrupt retailers. That center has since been demolished for the new project.

The first phase of Carillon will include 225,800 square feet of commercial space, including medical offices, and 350 apartments. Eventually, there will be 3 million square feet of commercial and residential space built there. Friedson said the company is negotiating for subsidies from Prince George’s County to complete the project.

County officials had designated the area, with a Metro stop and Capital Beltway access, as part of a town center in a long-term master plan in an effort to bring more amenities to the community. Friedson said officials steered the hospital to the site.

The Maryland hospital system closed on a deal to acquire the money-losing Prince George’s hospital and other heath facilities from Dimensions Healthcare System in 2017 after years of discussions and negotiations, as well as hefty subsidies from the state and county for operations and now construction of the new hospital. Other facilities in the area acquired as part of the deal will become outpatient focused.

The new $600 million teaching hospital is likely to cost more to operate, and charge higher rates, than some other nearby community hospitals. And for years those other hospitals had been draining away Prince George’s residents who sought higher quality care.

The new development may help reverse the trend.

“We are happy to see the Carillon site progressing and we have shared details with one another on our respective projects,” said Jania Matthews, a spokeswoman for University of Maryland Capital Region Health.

“Carillon’s amenities will complement for the University of Maryland Capital Region Medical Center, our patients and staff as well as our community,” she said. "Prince George’s County residents will have a state-of-the-art hospital to meet their healthcare needs, while having a diverse selection of services, restaurants, retailers and entertainment options to enjoy. "

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