Rockville Firm Wins Laurel Project Bid

December 04, 2009|By Michael Dresser | Michael Dresser , michael.dresser@baltsun.com

The Maryland Department of Transportation has awarded exclusive negotiating rights to a Rockville-based firm to formulate plans for a transit-oriented development project at the MARC commuter rail station in Laurel.

Transportation Secretary Beverly Swaim-Staley announced the agreement with Patriot Realty Thursday, calling it an advance for the O'Malley administration's Smart Growth policies. The proposed development would include retail, office and residential space, as well as a new parking garage, on the Maryland Transit Administration's existing parking lot at the Camden Line station.

According to the department, transit-oriented development would help increase MARC ridership, reduce sprawl and promote walking and biking to the station. Under the agreement, Patriot will develop a specific design and economic proposal for the project, which would then be subject to negotiations over a master development agreement.

Laurel is one of six transit stations at which the transportation department is working to get such mixed-use developments off the ground, Del T. Adams, the department's transit-oriented development manager, said. State Center in Baltimore is the farthest along.

Adams said Patriot submitted an unsolicited proposal for the Laurel project, after which the state sought competing proposals and received one. After evaluating both, the state chose Patriot's, he said. Any final agreement would require the approval of the Board of Public Works.

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