Tuesday, November 17, 2009

percontee: new heights in hyattsville

iconic building
part FIVE of a series about new development proposals in Calverton and Hyattsville by Percontee.

LifeSci Village, Percontee's proposed community of homes, shops and research facilities in Calverton, waits for Montgomery County to give the green light. In the meantime, they're turning to Hyattsville, where they've envisioned one of the most ambitious urban redevelopment projects in the region.

The existing Belcrest Plaza is a 1960's-era garden apartment community built by the Gudelsky family. Percontee seeks to redevelop most of the 783-unit complex, located behind the Mall at Prince George's on Belcrest Road, into an urban neighborhood that Genn compares to Reston Town Center or Bethesda Row.

The surrounding area, near the Prince George's Plaza metro station, has become a nationally-recognized example of Smart Growth. A case study of the adjacent University Town Center, a mixed-use development built around a forty-year-old office park, appears in the recently-published book Retrofitting Suburbia.

Two luxury apartment complexes flank the Belcrest Plaza site. Across East-West Highway, a new hotel and an office tower are planned, while a new shopping mall atop the Metro station has been completed.

Site Plan With Green Space
Site plan, Belcrest Plaza. The Mall at Prince George's is at the bottom.

At build-out, Belcrest Plaza would have 2,750 homes, 200,000 square feet of office space, 55,000 square feet of retail, along with space set aside for a new public library and recreation center. The thirty-five acre site would have a mix of townhomes and mid- and high-rise apartment buildings, ranging from five to seventeen stories. Toledo Terrace and Toledo Road would become tree-lined boulevards.

A thirty-three story "iconic building" would sit at the corner of Belcrest Road and Toledo Road. "We want something . . . to send the signal that this is a vibrant area," says Genn of the tower, which like the rest of the complex was designed by the Vienna-based Lessard Group. "The reason is to make a signature and a statement."

"The perspective up there could just be . . . awesome," Genn says. If completed the "iconic building" would be one of the tallest towers inside the Beltway, if not region-wide.


Thomas Hardman said...

So, Dan, does Percontee pay you for this relentless promotion, or do they maybe pay the Council Member for whom you work?

Akil said...

I don't see why the life sci village would not be approved they talk so much about bringing jobs and establishing biotech in that part of the county. They will be seen as complete hypocrits if they don't approve it and people should call them out on it.

Melanie said...

That's quite a charge from Mr. Hardman. As a citizen I appreciate you staying on top of these proposed developments and passing it on to the public. Smart growth is better for all concerned because like it or not, growth we got and if the public dosen't promote the smart variety, we'll get the crap variety. Turning PG Plaza into a town center is a no brainer if there ever was one.

Dan Reed said...

Full disclosure: I was given a glass of water (tap, I think) by Jonathan Genn of Percontee when I went to speak with them earlier this fall.

I just happen to be really excited about what they're doing and was a little dismayed that so little information about LifeSci Village is available. I figured I'd do a little investigating and find out.

Cilla said...

I agree that Dan's reporting about these developments is of great value to me and fellow citizens. I like knowing more about the people and firms behind developments, whether I agree with them or not.

Part of the "joy of blogging" is to be able to be enthusiastic about such things. Unless someone can point to a "trail" of conflict (or apparent conflict) of interest, it seems curmudgeonly, at best, to make such an accusation.

jen said...

I too appreciate this series of posts and respect the tone with which they have been written.

I agree with Cilla that a blog SHOULD reflect what the blogger is interested in and enthusiastic about. It is not just "curmudgeonly" but misguided to imply that bloggers should adhere to traditional "hard news" journalistic standards.

It saddens me that someone would choose to "reward" Dan for his excellent blog by publically insulting his integrity and casting serious -- and completely unfounded -- aspersions on an elected official.

Thomas Hardman said...

What was in that water, Dan? ;)

Please note the smiley emoticon.

As for Dan's integrity, I apologize for any previous insinuations about the 4096-character limit on Comments.

That being said, anyone wanting to question Mr Leventhal's campaign contribution sources is welcome to trot on over to Maryland Politics Watch and or the State Elections Campaign and search it yourself.

In 2006, Konterra LP contributed a modest $100, for example.

I should note right here, as well, that I'm not insulting Dan's integrity after he got his current job, as he does in fact have a prominent disclaimer.

Anyone who wanted to, for instance, could easily find fault with my own integrity when I promote Open Source Software as a massive cost-saver, especially for local governments. I would in fact be in a position to potentially benefit from that, if I were selected under the usual and legal process. I have no influence in that, so when I write promotional copy, it's clear that I'm trying to sell something.

I personally can't see any problems with any of these proposals, it's just that I am relentlessly promoting comparable (or even larger) redevelopment here in Aspen Hill, and maybe I'm just a little annoyed that the elected Council person for my district hasn't got anyone comparable to Dan, in talents or readership, promoting for MY neighborhood. Um, I should hasten to add that I am not applying for any such job.