A new $654 million regional hospital will be built near the Largo Town Center Metro station, the Dimensions Healthcare System Board of Directors announced Aug. 22 during a news conference at the Prince George’s County Hospital Center in Cheverly.
The board for Dimensions, a nonprofit organization operating four hospitals in Prince George’s County, voted unanimously in favor of building the 280-bed hospital at the Largo site over another site at the former Landover Mall property, citing walkable Metro access and existing solid infrastructure.
“The site that was most ready to go was Largo,” said Prince George’s County Chief Administrative Officer Brad Seaman.
“The Landover site was going to require tens of millions of dollars in [infrastructure] improvements,” he said, as well as being a 1.5-mile walk to the Metro.
The new hospital, expected to open in 2017, will replace the outdated and financially ailing Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly, which is run by Dimensions. State and county officials have been working to resolve the hospital’s problems for years.
“We’ve been trying to find a permanent solution to the Prince George’s County hospital problem, and this is it,” said County Executive Rushern Baker (D), who attended the news conference.
The “killer” of the hospital in Cheverly is that residents who can afford health insurance go outside the county for care because the Cheverly hospital, with outdated equipment and an old building, has a poor reputation when it comes to services, said Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D), who was also at the news conference.
Scott Peterson, spokesman for the county executive, said 32,000 state residents leave Maryland each year to stay overnight at hospitals in other states, and 25,000 of those residents are from Prince George’s County.
The Largo site consists of 70 acres of property owned by Oak Brook, III.-based Retail Properties of America Inc., as well as several other privately-owned properties and is next to the Boulevard at Capital Centre shopping center and the Largo Town Center Metro station.
“[The decision] showcases that when you buy the right real estate, its highest and best use will be realized,” Shane Garrison, executive vice president and chief operating officer at RPAI, stated in a news release.
Largo Metro officials also showed enthusiasm for the coming hospital.
“We like to see large-scale employment centers at the end of our line,” said Stan Wall, director of real estate and station planning at Largo Town Center, referring to Metro’s Blue Line, which ends at the center.
Wall said he thinks the hospital will not only increase Metro ridership but also increase property values and chances of future development in the station’s surrounding areas.
The Coalition for Smarter Growth, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that promotes transit-oriented development and walkable communities, has been pushing the county to recommend the Largo site to Dimensions for the past two years, which the county did Aug. 21, said the organization’s director, Cheryl Cort.
“We’re ecstatic,” Cort said. “The next step is to design [the hospital] right and take advantage of the synergy of a mixed-use area … . So many employees will be coming to the area. We want to encourage people to live nearby, to walk to stores and walk to work.”