Leonardtown waterfront plan focuses on ways to increase prosperity

A concept for an outdoor food and social center on Leonardtown's waterfront.
A concept for an outdoor food and social center on Leonardtown's waterfront.

A rendering of the Leonardtown waterfront with a hotel and conference center. A rendering of the Leonardtown waterfront with a hotel and conference center.

HOLLYWOOD, Md. (March 10, 2022)—Development and marketing consultants working for the Town of Leonardtown have formulated a plan to shape the future of the town's waterfront and delivered their analysis to a packed house at the town government offices Feb. 23.

The consultants Mahan/Rykiel Associates and Arnett/Muldrow Associates showed visions of how the public waterfront could be used in conjunction with the longdormant Tudor Hall Farm project that could bring a hotel and conference center to the area of the Leonardtown Wharf.

The analysis showed that in the next five years the county's population is only expected to grow, with more than 8,000 residents within a 10-minute drive of the downtown and nearly 67,000 residents within a 20-minute drive.

A well-developed waterfront in conjunction with private enterprise could help to draw even more dollars into the town, the analysis suggests.

The analysis also found that local consumers spend more than stores locally are selling.

"In a 20-minute drive time you're looking at a $1 billion market," said Tripp Muldrow, of Arnett/Muldrow Associates, to the residents assembled last month. "We're looking at $178 million in retail leakage in a 20-minute drive time."

Retail leakage, said Muldrow, was the difference between what stores sold and what consumers buy.

In the 20-minute drive time radius around Leonardtown, he said, stores sell about $1.07 billion in goods, while consumers purchase much more at $1.25 billion. Muldrow said between 20 to 30 percent of that $178 million could be captured by Leonardtown's downtown area, under the right conditions.

About $70 million of that mount, he said, was leaking from the restaurant, home furniture, clothing and accessories, specialty food and beverage and arts and gifts sectors of the local economy, which the town is heavily invested in.

Muldrow also said that Leonardtown should focus on the rising opportunity of having a full-service hotel and conference center as the Holiday Inn in Solomons was reportedly going to "be converted to another use."

Muldrow estimated such a new facility in Leonardtown would be the only full-service property in the Southern Maryland and Virginia's Northern Neck.

Tom McGilloway, planning director of Mahan/Rykiel Associates, said the great object was to expand waterfront access at the wharf that would link the town's amenities with a trail network as well as existing and future neighborhoods to the waterfront.

Along with a hotel and conference center, the overall plan calls for an amphitheater with a covered stage or pavilion, an outdoor food hall that can act as a community social center and a greenway to connect Tudor Hall Farm to the rest of the town and showcase the waterfront.

The waterfront plan also proposes a central park space to be known as Fenwick Lawn, which would be developed in conjunction with Tudor Hall Farm.

The last piece of the plan would be known as the West Fenwick Downtown Expansion.

This expansion area would guide westward expansion of the downtown towards the Tudor Hall Farm area and connect it to the town square.

The expansion would include a transition from more intense urban uses close to downtown to less intense residential and commercial facilities the further west it moves.

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