County officials on justice center redevelopment: new school unlikely, affordable housing not required
During a Jan. 13 virtual public hearing, representatives from the Revenue Authority of Prince George’s County described the type of proposals they would like to see for a redevelopment of the Hyattsville Justice Center property at 5000 Rhode Island Avenue.
The county-owned 7.5-acre parcel is currently occupied by three buildings: the district court house, a county police station and the vacant county service building. There is also a heavily used 559-space underground parking garage in need of expensive repairs.
Peter Shapiro, the revenue authority’s executive director, said the redevelopment would be a mixed-use project, with housing and an arts or entertainment venue, and perhaps a commercial or retail component.
While the request for proposals was left open-ended, it is likely that some or all of the current buildings would remain on site. In response to a question from Hyattsville Councilmember Danny Schaible (Ward 2), Shapiro noted that although the request for proposals didn’t strictly require the police station to remain on site, there was no Capital Improvement Program funding to relocate it, and so it would, in all likelihood, remain in place.
One hearing attendee asked whether the county had considered using the site as a location for a new Hyattsville Elementary School. Jason Washington, of Prince George’s County Public Schools, responded that the location was not suitable for a school because of the existing buildings. He also said that there was insufficient time to consider the justice center site for the next round of public-private partnership school construction, for which Hyattsville Elementary is under consideration.
Several attendees’ questions focused on the need for affordable housing. Shapiro said that while the request for a proposal does not specify a required percentage of affordable housing, affordable housing is a county priority.
Shapiro noted, “The purpose here is not to sell the land for the most money that we can get. … The strategy is what’s really going to help catalyze the kind of development we want to see along the Route One Corridor and the Arts District and in the county.”
All proposals must be submitted by Feb. 18 and will be available to the public. Shapiro said that an agreement with a developer would likely be reached 30 to 60 days after a proposal is approved by the revenue authority.