In Charles County, Maryland, there is a growing suburban commuter community, known as La Plata, that is planned to one day undergo major redevelopment.
On May 11 to 12 of this year, nine members of the non-profit Urban Land Institute (ULI) collected to focus on how to redevelop the roughly six-block, 15.5-acre area. A new report has since been released that documents these findings. The report covered everything from transportation to design to funding.
Some of the recommendations included relocating the library, expanding the government center, and creating a town square or civic plaza to anchor retail and residential development. The report also recommended creating for-sale housing for employees who work in or near the study area. Rather than apartments, the report recommended building attached townhomes.
Because of the large amounts of office space surrounding the study area, there wasn’t as much emphasis on building more office space in the report.
In order to reduce the high traffic volume, the report also recommended creating a series of streets that could disperse traffic.
Some of the challenges that may hinder the redevelopment include the area’s vehicular congestion and fragmented ownership. Additionally, two major property owners, Coca Cola and Southern Maryland Oil, hold one-third of the study area. Retail opportunities are also limited due to competition with nearby retail on Route 301 and boutique retail already located in the study area.
There are three major predevelopment phases to this project: master planning and zoning (approximately $250,000), pre-development and engineering (approximately $500,000), and preliminary research on relocation sites for Coca Cola and Southern Maryland Oil (approximately $30,000).
La Plata is home to 11,000 jobs and 4,000 households, according to the report. Over the next 30 years, the goal is to increase jobs by 20 percent and the number of households by 75 percent.
To learn more, read the full report here.