Updated: Nov 29, 2020
A Buyer's Dream
When buying a home, you are not only buying a home, but also the neighborhood. A buyer's dream includes great schools, shopping, dining and much more. For some in Prince George's County, this has become an unmet reality.
Residents of Westphalia Town Center and Parkside at Westphalia, located in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, were told a grocery store, hotel, office space, library and other amenities were going to be part of the town center development. This core section would connect both communities. Unfornately, this has not come to fruition. Recently, the developer has received Planning Board approval to rezone the office component to a merchandise and logistics center, with a plan to bring Amazon to spur development of the promised town center.
A harsh reality for a homebuyer is, if it's not there, it may not be there.
Let's take Fairwood! When homebuyers purchased in the planned community of Fairwood (Bowie, MD), they bought into the neighborhood with the idea a new school, Fairwood Elementary, would be built. A parcel of land on Fairwood Parkway, is designated for the school. The school was slated to open in 2010, an almost 10 years later it hasn't happened. Part of the reason is, the zoned neighborhood elementary school, Glenn Dale, was originally overcrowded. At some point, the 6th graders were removed and placed into Thomas Johnson Middle School. As a result, it helped relieve overcrowding at Glenn Dale Elementary and lessened the need for Fairwood Elementary.
Woodmore Towne Centre at Glenarden, is an unique case of shopping, and dining options delivered. Fortunately, the retail and restaurant component was built before the homes. Unfornately, Woodmore Town Centre has been scaled-down. At the core were supposed to be apartments above Tidewater Dental wrapped around the existing parking garage to Cherry Blossom Intimates. The "market" has changed for Woodmore from a mixed-use development to a "family-lifestyle center". Also, ground-floor retail and apartments were proposed above what is now Cava and Silver Diner, which are under construction.
Beechtree homebuyers bought into the community with the idea that a small village of commerical space would be built at the corners of Route 301 and Leeland Rd in Upper Marlboro. With the community almost built out, nothing has transpired. In fact, a portion of the proposed village space has been scaled-back to be built for townhomes.
A harsh reality for a homebuyer is, if it's not there, it may not be there. Buyer's must continue to research what they are buying. Site plans may mislead, but provide accurate information. Buyers see "proposed" library, fire station, retail, office space and think it will be "automatically" constructed. The "proposed" label actually means that those parcels of land are designated for those particular uses. A school may not be built, becuase the existing neighbhorhood school may not be at capacity. A library, fire station may not be built due to lack of funding or other issues. These are checklist items buyers definitely need to consider when purchasing a home.
The potential of Amazon coming to Westphalia Town Center has definitely been a learning experience for us all. Buyers need to be more engaged to who is currrently serving and wants to be elected for political office. Buyers need to reseach current zoning and proposed zoning regulations and the over masterplans for the community in which they are purchasing. Buyers need to continue to research local schools zoned for their neighboorhood. If buyers want retail and restaurants at their future doorstep, perhaps buying where it already exists, such as Woodmore Towne Centre, is a better option.
A buyer's dream. A potential harsh, unmet reality.