Sunday, August 4, 2013

Walmart Supercenter Proposed for Bowie

Walmart is moving forward with a proposal to build a new 186,000 square foot "supercenter" in the future Mill Branch Crossing shopping center in Bowie.  The proposed store would feature a full service supermarket, and it would be located across Route 301 from the site of the current Walmart discount store.  If the plan comes to fruition, the supercenter would replace Bowie's existing Walmart store.

Walmart was required to file a special zoning exception application because "it proposes a department/variety store over 125,000 sq. ft., with a food and beverage component above 10% of the gross floor area," according to a status report presented to the Bowie City Council by City Manager David Deutsch.  The Walmart plan will be on the City Council's agenda this fall.

Along with the retail stores, Mill Branch Crossing is expected to include commercial space and a 150 room hotel.

The Mill Branch Crossing shopping center has been in the planning stages for more than seven years.  The project has been delayed by the discovery of remains of a 1700s era structure as well as other archeological items.  Development of the shopping center has also been delayed by plans for the future Green Branch Regional Park.  The Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission owns 319 acres of land behind the Mill Branch Crossing property, and a portion of that land will be converted into soccer, lacrosse and football fields. The park property is land locked, and the county is requiring the owner of the shopping center property to provide a public access road to the new park as a condition for approval.

A lacrosse stadium is also being considered for the Green Branch Regional Park site as a possible home for the Chesapeake Bayhawks professional lacrosse team.  A study conducted earlier this year concluded that a 22,000 seat stadium was not appropriate, and a follow-up study was funded to consider options for a smaller stadium.

The future Green Branch Regional Park also offers a potential viewing location for the annual City of Bowie fireworks.  According to Bowie City Manager David Deutsch, future city firework shows at Prince George's Stadium will include more higher altitude shells for people viewing the show from outside the stadium.  This may make it possible to view the fireworks from the new park, although Deutsch indicated that the city had not yet considered that option.


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