In an effort to lure the construction of the new FBI headquarters in Prince George's County, officials have broken ground on a $2 billion town center that would include a school, office space and retail.
Redell Duke with the Westphalia Civic Association told News4 he remembers the site of the town center as extremely rural.
"From my backyard, we could see all kinds of cattle, wild life... it was fascinating," Duke said.
This week, county and state officials and the Canada-based Walton Development Group gathered for the center's ground breaking ceremony.
"We're going to create a community for living, working and playing," Walton Group CEO Bill Doherty said.
The site is currently an empty 6 acres at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Suitland Parkway in Upper Marlboro. It will be one of the largest commercial real estate developments in the county and the biggest in Maryland in decades.
"The last time we had something like this [was] Columbia, Maryland," Prince George's Councilman Derrick Davis said.
The center will feature an elementary school, fire and rescue facilities, retail and grocery shopping, restaurants and more than 3 million square feet of office space, hotel rooms and homes.
It's so big, the developer wants to build it its own rapid bus transit system to and from the Metro, and thinks it may be the perfect site of the future FBI headquarters.
"We feel really good about the fact that we have committed to Greenbelt. We think that puts Prince George's and the state of Maryland in the best position," County Executive Rushern Baker said.