Alsobrooks to Developers: ‘Get in Now’

    As if anyone had any doubts, Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D) is one heck of a cheerleader for her county. That was abundantly clear during a large gathering of business leaders, real estate executives and policymakers in College Park Wednesday, sponsored by the real estate news website Bisnow.

    Alsobrooks spoke, followed by two panels of real estate executives and lawyers.

    Asked what her one message would be to businesses and real estate companies thinking about doing business in Prince George’s, Alsobrooks, who is nine months into the job, replied, “Oh my gosh, what I say to you is, ‘get in now.’”

    Three times, Alsobrooks said her goal is for the county government to be “nimble and ready for business.”

    “Our vision for economic development is robust,” she added.

    Asked what parts of the county are ripest for development, Alsobrooks couldn’t choose. Prodded, she talked about Largo, New Carrollton, and Suitland. Then transit-oriented development (“It’s on fire right now.”). Then the Route 1 corridor. And so on.

    What came next must have been music to Alsobrooks’ ears. Most of the real estate and development professionals agreed that, though Prince George’s regulations and permitting process aren’t as streamlined as they ought to be, the county is in fact a cheaper and more welcoming place to do business than most of its neighbors.

    Among those praising the county was Timothy Hogan, president of the Hogan Companies, “a boutique real estate company,” in his words, founded (though he did not say so) by his brother, Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R).

    But Hogan, who said his company has roughly 20 projects ongoing in Prince George’s, sounded a note of caution, too, suggesting that some county leaders want to put the brakes on development.

    “I have started to hear some things on the [County] Council, comments, that we started to see in Montgomery County, that we started to see in Anne Arundel County, that we started to see in Frederick County,” he said. “Let’s not go the way that some of the neighbors have gone.”

    Postscript: The Prince George’s County Council will have a five-hour retreat Monday on economic development. At the public meeting, “Council Members will receive an overview of existing Prince George’s County economic development program tools, incentives and strategies,” according to a news release. “An assessment of the County’s economic development efforts and strategies, and options for the future will also be discussed.”

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    Josh Kurtz
    Founding Editor Josh Kurtz is a veteran chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He was an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, for eight years, and for eight years was the editor of E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill. For 6 1/2 years Kurtz wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz regularly gives speeches and appears on TV and radio shows to discuss Maryland politics.