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Mosaic Theater
Downtown Largo, MD, Facing the Challenges
Oct 20 – Nov 02, 2022
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downtown largo

In suburban Washington, residents in Prince George’s County, Maryland has seen the Capital Centre, where the Washington Bullets (now Wizards) played become the Boulevard at the Capital Centre, an open-air shopping center.  Today, it’s blossoming into Downtown Largo.

Instead of the "Cap" Centre or the Magic Johnson Theater (AMC Theatres), the anchor for Downtown Largo is the new University of Maryland Capital Region Medical Center (UMCRMC). During a tour organized by the Coalition for Smarter Growth, which advocates for walkable, bikeable, and transit-oriented communities, about 30 residents from throughout Metro Washington learned about current and future development for the area.

In addition to being a last stop on the Washington Metro Blue Line, downtown Largo will also become the home of retailers and restaurants, and housing, in an attempt to bypass the issues that saw the demise of the Boulevard. However, its anchor has its own challenges, including those that plague other medical centers serving majority Black communities.

The new hospital, in a growing, suburban middle-class district, replaces the Prince George’s Medical Center that was located near the stable, but more challenged Prince George’s and Washington, DC border. With a new location and expanded services, the UMCRMC hopes to attract more people coming through its front doors than though its emergency room doors. Even with a new name and location, the center remains the second busiest trauma center in Maryland, second only to Baltimore City.

Studies show that Prince George’s is a place to sleep, but not to work or shop. It is also not a place to seek health care.

The study showed that “they spent their health care dollars elsewhere,” explained Prince George's County Executive Representative and Chair of the University of Maryland Capital Region Health Board Brad Seamon, “and 90 percent would leave the county to have their children.”  Seamon went on to explain that the county and its associates aim to correct the imbalances that also find 60 percent of the county revenue coming from residential property taxes versus the 30 percent found in neighboring, more diverse Montgomery County.

To create a new balance, Downtown Largo will feature a cancer and diabetes center to encourage patients to have elective care in Prince George’s.  Also in the building stage are more market-rate housing and retail. The Magic Johnson theater is still open, but Kite Realty developer Nick Over cautioned, “We don’t know if there will be movie theaters in five to ten years.”
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