The Waldorf Station Development Agreement was approved for the construction split between retail and non-retail commercial space as well as up to 798 residential units.
The agreement between the developer of the project and the Charles County commissioners pertains to constructing the project — planned at the intersection of routes 5 and 301 in Waldorf — in a timely and orderly fashion.
Included in the space will be a hotel, offices, entertainment areas and a housing complex for retired persons. Developer Greenberg Gibbons is set to construct the project.
There will be 226,500 square feet of retail commercial space, and 226,500 square feet of non-retail commercial space.
Redevelopment Manager for the Department of Economic Development Taylor Yewell told Southern Maryland News the project’s most significant aspects are the non-residential components.
“They won’t have any impact on the schools,” he said. “They will generate net positive tax revenues to the tune of about $1.5 million when the project is built out and leased up. ... The fiscal benefits outweigh the fiscal costs.”
Additionally, he noted the retail space will encompass a large area: “The retail component is slated to be a couple hundred thousand square feet. That is all subject to market conditions and economic conditions as well.”
Jason Groth, Charles’ deputy director for the department of planning and growth management, said in an interview that the Waldorf Station received an “overlay zone approval in 2002,” which enabled the location to be a transit-oriented development zone.
“It is a mix of commercial and residential that has a tie to transit,” Groth said. “Essentially, this particular zoning category allows them to do a mix of uses — residential and commercial — so that they can achieve a higher density. It is intended to be a walkable community where people don’t have to get in their cars as often. ... They can walk to entertainment.”
Groth explained there are several steps in place for the project to commence. The most vital — the development agreement — was approved in June.
“We are currently working on a school allocation policy amendment that would not only benefit this project, but would also benefit other projects of a similar nature,” Groth said. “That has just been initiated as of yesterday.”
Another crucial step in the five-staged process, Groth added, is site development planning. “They will have to have approved site development plans for each phase of the project. They want to do an assisted living facility first. That is working its way through our approval process. We are reviewing those plans now.”
Groth said that townhomes, apartments and condominiums — a vital aspect of the residential component — will also need their site development plans approved prior to construction.
“They want to do an assisted living facility first. ... We are reviewing those plans now,” Groth said about the current stage. “Other residential components of the project will have to have a site development plan approved first. ... That is approved by the county staff administratively.”
He explained that commercial properties will also need a site development plan in order to receive approval and begin construction.
“The site development plan shows the detailed layout of each site. It will show where the building is located, the parking, the access to the property. ... Generally, they go to the planning commission for an approval.”
Final stages needing approval include infrastructure plans, water, sewage and road construction, which need “detailed engineering plans approved” by the department of planning and growth management, he said.
“All of those things need to have detailed engineering plans approved,” Groth said. “From there, they can begin construction. They will be issued permits to build that infrastructure.”
He said the estimated buildout of the project is between five and seven years, depending on many factors. “It is influenced by market conditions. ... As the demand is high, it moves faster. If we end up in a recession, or the market becomes a little slower here, it is possible it can take a little longer.” The initial development stage, he said, is set to start in 18 months. “Each development stage, I’m assuming, is about one year.”
Groth told Southern Maryland News the project will be one of the first mixed-use developments people see when they cross the county line.
“I think it is the gateway to Charles County from Prince George’s County,” he said. “We are pretty excited to see — not only fresh development right there crossing the county line — but also to have this mixed use development as a catalyst to set off what the area zoning encourages. ... We’d like to focus a lot of our developments efforts in that area.”