Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Monday, January 24, 2011

National harbor developer funds gas station

While there is lotsa talk about PG County refocusing development around transit stations, that's a somewhat naive statement because the reason that transit stations aren't major sites for intensified development in PG County now is because the development form and intensity present throughout the county doesn't provide a premium value for the land in terms of a more "urban" form as opposed to a more sprawling low density form. A land value premium is required to justify doing mixed use development because it costs more at the outset.

DC has about one subway station for every 15,000 residents. PG County has one subway station for every 55,000 residents. (Yes, PG County is much larger.)

This is the same problem that Baltimore City and Baltimore County have, but in a different sense. There you have a light rail line and a subway line (plus some railroad stations), but you don't have a true fixed rail transit network serving those jurisdictions in a comparable way to how DC is served by transit (DC has 40 subway stations, with 29 over a roughly 15 square mile area at the core of the city). Since there is no transit network, you don't get a network effect in terms of property value. Hence, very few transit oriented development projects, especially without subsidy.

Typical of PG County's failure to recenter development planning around transit is the creation of National Harbor, which is served by freeways, but not by rail transit, and the Konterra development in north PG County, which for all intents and purposes is disconnected from substantive transit and is the primary PG County justification for the creation of the Inter County Connector.

So with National Harbor, you had the developer push to get transit service cut ("Union, Gaylord request Metro bus reroute" from the Gazette) because bus service didn't contribute to the image the developer wished to portray, and after the development there is talk of trying to do streetcars and such. (I don't think DC should pay to connect to National Harbor by streetcar, but PG County could pay for it.)

So I think it's especially delicious that Peterson Companies is paying to build a gas station at National Harbor, according to "Developer fuels new National Harbor gas station: Fuel site meant to show focus on residential development" from the Gazette.

From the article:

National Harbor's developer has plans to move forward with building the Oxon Hill site's first gas station, representing the project's transition from an entertainment destination into a residential center.

Andre Gingles, an attorney with National Harbor developer The Peterson Companies, told Fort Washington's Riverbend Estates Neighborhood Association at a meeting Monday that the company will present to the Prince George's County Planning Board in March its plan to implement a Sunoco gas station on the western side of National Harbor. The association supported the new plan after rejecting previous National Harbor gas station proposals.

"It's part of what we refer to as the maturity and growth of National Harbor," Gingles said. "When we started, we were this destination place ... largely hotel-oriented. Now, we're starting to get more residential."

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home