Brentwood weighs adding pharmacy or housing-retail mix -- Gazette.Net


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Prince George’s County officials are weighing two development proposals on what is described by Brentwood officials as a “major property” in the town: a five-story mixed-use facility or a CVS Pharmacy — with the latter raising some concerns.

“People do not come to visit because of a CVS or move here because of a CVS,” said Brentwood resident Pamela Strother, a former board member of The Gateway Community Development Corp., adding that the store would not enhance the Gateway Arts and Entertainment District, which includes Brentwood.

Officials with the Prince George’s County’s Redevelopment Authority, which owns the property, are reviewing the proposals for a 1.5-acre site at 3807 and 3809 Rhode Island Ave., which contains a shuttered plumbing supply store. An advisory committee hopes to make a recommendation to the Redevelopment Authority’s board of directors in early March, said Howard Ways, executive director of the authority.

The proposed mixed-use facility would include 132 residential units, retail space and artist studios, said Judith Siegel, chairwoman of Linthicum-based Landex Cos., the primary developer for the proposal. Siegel said the proposal only represents the first set of ideas the developers have drawn and some of the details could change as residents weigh in.

The proposed freestanding CVS Pharmacy would have some enhanced architectural designs to help fit in with the surrounding Gateway Arts and Entertainment District, according to CVS representatives.

Some residents and council members are concerned the CVS proposal does not include arts-related uses or create a destination point for the site.

Brentwood resident Stacy Smith, 40, said she preferred the Landex proposal at this point because she feels the area would benefit more from a mixed-use facility that would have varied retail. Smith said there are CVS Pharmacies located in nearby Hyattsville and in Colmar Manor.

“These usually become meeting spaces,” Smith said of mixed-use facilities. ”CVS is not going to be a meeting place.”

Councilwoman Gina Morlan said she opposed the CVS, as well, and hoped Landex would explain more about its ideas for service-based businesses, which she said the town lacks.

“It needed more retail rather than artist studios,” she said of the company’s proposal.

Jason Mitchell, executive vice president/general counsel for J.C. Bar Properties Inc., the developer for the CVS proposal, said at a Feb. 5 presentation at Brentwood’s Town Hall that CVS was open to discussing the design and architecture of the building to help it fit in with the arts district, such as adding creative window graphics.

He said another important component was that CVS would purchase the site at a profit from the county and would increase the tax base of the town.

“CVS is purchasing the property, and they are here for the long haul,” Mitchell said. “You have one tenant that is going to operate there for the next 20, 30, 40, 50 years. There is very little risk of vacancy.”

Susan Reardon, regional director of real estate for CVS for Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C., said at the meeting the company had done a market analysis of the area and found the area could support another CVS and remain profitable.

tsandoval@gazette.net