The Prince George’s County Planning Board on Thursday unanimously approved a detailed site plan for a massive merchandise logistics hub at Westphalia Town Center, largely believed to be a future Amazon.com Inc. fulfillment facility, despite hours of testimony from community members condemning the project and their treatment at the hands of the applicants.
The board’s hands were tied, its members said. The Prince George’s County Council had already ruled that such a facility is a permitted use at Westphalia and the planning board must follow that direction.
“The use is allowed,” said Board Chair Elizabeth Hewlett, who called the vote at 10 p.m., nine hours after the meeting began. “That’s a parameter we cannot do anything about.”
Walton Westphalia Development Corp. and Duke Realty (NYSE: DRE), the applicants behind the project, want to construct a five-story, 85-foot-tall distribution center with an 818,423-square-foot footprint, creating a facility of roughly 4 million gross square feet. Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) is expected to be the future tenant.
Westphalia is located immediately north of Joint Base Andrews and Pennsylvania Avenue, east of the Capital Beltway. The 500-acre master-planned development was approved more than a decade ago, but, other than single-family homes, the commercial town center aspect has been slow to take shape.