Construction under way at site that will include south Bowie library
Hall Station Village Center expects to open some buildings by spring
Residents in South Bowie are beginning to see signs that the library they lobbied so hard for is on its way. Construction began in early September at the Hall Station Village Center site, where the library will be located.
The rising steel frame for a new credit union headquarters is visible from Central Avenue, and construction of the long-awaited South Bowie library is expected to begin next to the credit union this fall after footings are poured and the foundation slab is complete, said Michael Gannon, associate director for administrative services for the Prince George's County Memorial Library System.
"They're getting the slab ready [to start construction], and we expect to open in about a year," said Gannon, who did not provide a specific start date on Monday.
The two buildings are part of the Hall Station Village mixed-use project being developed by The Michael Cos. of Lanham and The Rappaport Cos. of McLean, Va. in a joint venture called Cenhall LLC.
Construction of the new library is expected to begin this fall, something very much desired by many of the residents of the nearby Devonshire Estates and Collington Station neighborhoods.
"People in the area really lobbied for this library, and we're really excited about it," Gannon said. "They wanted a new library so much."
Construction costs for the library are expected to total about $10.5 million, which does not include $1.6 million for books and furnishings, $1.1 million for land and $900,000 for plans for a total cost of $14.1 million, Gannon said.
The library is expected to employ the equivalent of 16.5 full-time people, some of whom could transfer from other libraries, he said.
It is also expected to draw some of the patrons from the central Bowie library branch on Route 450 and from Anne Arundel County, Gannon said.
"The Bowie branch is the highest-circulating branch in the system, and I think this will probably help take some of the load off them," he said.
The new two-story South Bowie library will have features that the other county libraries don't have, including the system's first drive-up window, where library patrons can pick up and drop off books and also pay fines, he said.
There will be a separate computer area for hosting free classes in how to use e-mail, and Microsoft Word and Excel programs. And there will also be a live tree growing inside the building as well as a home-like gas fireplace where people can sit and read.
"We're really proud of this building," Gannon said. "It's state of the art, not just for the county but for the state."
Also planned for the 17-acre center are a large pharmacy and 109 owner-occupied housing units at the east end of the site grouped into 13 three- and four-story buildings.
Seventy of the units are condominiums and 39 will be town houses, where the owner is responsible for outside maintenance, said Matt McHale, sales and marketing representative with Ryan Homes.
"We expect the town homes to open in the first quarter [of next year] and the condos to open in April," said McHale, adding that he already has 23 units [20 town houses and three condos] under contract.
"It's exceeded expectations," he said. "We've been open about four months, and we've been selling four or five units per month."
The town houses are selling from the low $290,000s to the mid-$310,000s, and the condos are selling for the low- to mid-$240,000s to the mid-$270,000s, he said.
The entrance to the housing units will be off a widened Hall Road, and paving needs to be done on the internal roads before construction can start on the buildings, McHale said.
Hall Road will not go from two lanes to four but it will be widened on both sides in the vicinity of the town house section and a deceleration lane is planned near the entrance, according to Frank Stevens, a planner with the City of Bowie.
Representatives from the neighborhoods could not be reached for comment Monday. County Councilwoman Ingrid Turner (D-Dist. 4) scheduled a meeting Tuesday evening to update neighbors about the status of the town houses, credit union and library.
First to begin building on the site on the north side of Route 214 between Hall Road and Devonwood Road is the Prince George's County Community Federal Credit Union, which is building a headquarters that will include a fourth branch.
"We had outgrown our facility," said Polly Quinn, vice president of marketing and business development, about the credit union's current base of operations in town houses in Upper Marlboro.
The credit union serves about 14,000 people that live, work, worship or volunteer in the county. It has three branch offices, two of which are in county buildings in Upper Marlboro and Largo.
In early August, it opened its first free-standing branch in Beltsville, enabling it for the first time to offer Saturday and evening hours that it couldn't offer in the county buildings, Quinn said.
The South Bowie headquarters will house about 25 people that work in the call center, accounting department and administrative offices. It will also house the fourth branch offering a full range of services as well as a drive-up window, Quinn said.
The Beltsville branch employs three to four tellers and plans to hire a greeter and a member services representative, and the South Bowie branch will employ about the same number of people, she said.
"We expect to open next spring or summer, sometime between April to June," Quinn said. "It depends on the weather this winter."