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Why Everyone's Heard of Prince George's

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Congresswoman Donna Edwards isn't just a big supporter of National Harbor, since the development lies in her 4th congressional district—she's also a resident. We learned as much at our second annual Future of Prince George's County event last week at National Harbor's Sunset Room. There, she reported that because of large-scale projects and a robust fiscal position, Prince George's is firmly on the map, not just locally, but nationally: "Today, when you say you're from Prince George's, they know exactly where you're from."

We also heard from Russ Perry of SmithGroupJJR, which serves as architect of record for the massive MGM National Harbor casino and resort (site work is underway). A few key MGM stats: 300 hotel rooms, 75 suites, seven restaurants (not announced yet but featuring "names you'll recognize," Russ says), a dozen or so retailers, a 4,000-seat entertainment venue, eight meeting rooms, and of course, a full slate of gambling options.

Russ showed off an early sketch for the property, which should take about two years to build. (What are the odds on that?) MGM is going for LEED Gold, which it hopes to achieve by including a giant water collector and green roofing. The Prince George's community is also heavily involved, he says, with additional design teams and engineers being sourced from the county, as well as using Maryland-based GC Whiting Turner.

Russ also praised the cooperation of county planning officials—like Brad Frome, right. Brad (with NAI Michael managing director Gary Michael) says the county hopes to win more big projects by creating a simpler, more streamlined approval, planning, and zoning process, as well as giving the county more exposure nationally and internationally. To that end, Brad, county executive Rushern Baker, and other Prince George's officials are in China this week. Stay tuned for more Prince George's event coverage later this week