Debate begins anew over use of Glenn Dale Hospital site

A study to determine the feasibility of building a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) on the site of the long-closed Glenn Dale Hospital suggests that such a move is financially impractical.

 

The findings were first announced last week at a packed community meeting at Glenn Dale Golf Course.

 

The Maryland-National Park & Planning Commission, which owns the hospital site, commissioned the study. The Alexander Company, a Wisconsin-based development group specializing in historic preservation, urban revitalization and adaptive reuse, conducted it.

 

Absent a huge amount of government help ($40-$50 million according to estimates), building a CCRC on the hospital property doesn’t make financial sense for a developer, the study concluded.

Preserving some of the essential – but decaying – buildings on the 60-acre campus would be a particular challenge for a developer, the study found. However, members of the community have lobbied long and hard for the preservation at least some of the historic buildings. The entire hospital site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2011.

 

“We knew it was potentially a reach because the adaptive reuse (as opposed to demolition) that’s part of it,” said Prince George’s County Council member Todd Turner (District 4), whose district includes part of the hospital property. “The size of the (financial) gap was a little surprising. There’s just no way that government – the county or the state – can afford that kind of subsidy for a project like this one.”

 

The challenge now for local residents and politicians is to determine what to do next.

 

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This article was originally published in the Capital Gazette by John McNamara.