For about eight days each year, Landover, Md., is transformed into one of the most important sporting locales in the United States.
FedEx Field, home to the Washington Redskins since 1997, dominates the Prince George's County community's landscape, and during those special fall Sundays, and the occasional Monday night, the eyes of a football-crazed nation focus squarely upon it.
|At a glance|
|Average sold price for homes sold in ZIP code 20785: $115,490|
|Average list price for homes sold in ZIP code 20785: $120,897|
|Average days on market for homes sold: 73|
|Average sold price for homes sold in ZIP code 20785: $117,901|
|Average list price for homes sold in ZIP code 20785: $117,233|
|Average days on market for homes sold: 84|
But the rest of the time the heart of the area lies in the giant stadium's shadow. Adjacent sits the Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex, a gleaming 80-acre facility that provides residents of Landover and nearby communities with world-class athletic and educational opportunities.
"It's one of the greatest benefits of living here," said George Holmes, as he waited with his three children one evening for their classes to begin. "It exposes them to so many wonderful things."
Landover is an unincorporated community comprised of many different residential neighborhoods, including Glenarden, Brightseat, Ardmore, Palmer Park, Kentland, Dodge Park, Columbia Park, Willow Hills, Belle Haven, Lansdowne and Village Green.
Dottie Newman and her husband, nicknamed Paul, have called the Columbia Park subdivision home for four decades.
"When you say Landover you're talking about a widespread area," she said. "We have great neighbors, good schools and we can go less than a mile and get right onto the Beltway."
The community's location so close to the Beltway and Route 50 makes it attractive to commuters, who also use the Metro's Landover stop on the orange line.
Single-family homes, townhouses and plenty of affordable rental properties also draw people to the neighborhood, said Veera Phillips, a real estate agent who works in Landover.
"We have a lot of investors who are renovating properties here," said Phillips, an associate broker with Keller Williams Preferred Properties. "It's an older community, so you have a lot of mature trees. What has kept people here, traditionally, is family.
"They've raised their children here, their grandchildren are now here," she said. There also has been an influx of younger people because housing is affordable here."
A bevy of nearby shopping options ensures residents do not have to travel far for just about anything. Before FedEx Field was built, the Capital Centre was Landover's claim to sporting fame. Opened in 1972, the indoor arena hosted everything from presidential parties and Muhammad Ali fights to a record 28 Grateful Dead concerts.
The former home of the NBA's Washington Bullets and the NHL's Washington Capitals, it was demolished in 2002. In its place, in an area that's been renamed Largo, now stands the Boulevard at the Capital Centre, an outdoor mall with stores including Nine West, Pier 1, and Men's Warehouse. There's a food court, along with some upscale chain restaurants like Kobe and Stonefish Grill.
Panels on a promenade in the mall display historic Cap Centre moments and facts. Among them is one honoring legendary basketball player Magic Johnson, who, as a high school senior in 1977, played in an all-star game in the arena.
Just a stone's throw away is the site of Magic's latest trick, a multiplex movie theater that bears his name.
But it's the sports and learning complex that is Landover's true pride and joy today. Facilities in the complex include a field house and a fitness, gymnastics, aquatic and learning center, offering programs for people of all ages and abilities.
Landover's distinguished place in sports history may be lost on Holmes' children Skylar, 7, Sydney, 4, and George, 2. But as they munched popcorn waiting for gymnastics class to begin, they knew it was the center of their sporting world.
Top reasons to live in Landonver
Situated just off the Beltway and near Route 50, commuting from Landover to downtown by car is easy. If you'd rather take the train, Metro's orange line has a stop right in town.
With the average price of a home hovering around $115,000, becoming a homeowner is feasible in Landover. The area has a nice mixture of duplexes, single-family homes, townhouses and rental properties.
The gorgeous 80-acre sports complex has multiple facilities for people of all ages and abilities. And of course, on those special days during the fall, you can cheer on the Redskins at nearby FedEx Field.