Thursday, October 23, 2008

2008 Howard County CoRE Tour

If you were driving around Howard County yesterday you may have been suddenly stopped in traffic by a police escort of three Eyre’s buses. Did you wonder who the hell could possibly be in these buses that they required a police escort?

Was it some foreign dignitaries?

A sequestered jury pool?

Some mortgage brokers being run out of town?

You would probably be surprised to find out it was just a bunch of bankers, developers and commercial real estate brokers participating in the 2008 Howard County CoRE Tour put on by the Howard County Economic Development Authority. This tour is held every eighteen months to highlight the key commercial real estate development projects in Howard County. This was the first year it was afforded the police escort.

Was this a little overkill?

I happen to think so. I have been on similar tours in Anne Arundel County where they have had police escorts so it is not as if this is something that new, it’s just that it is new to Howard County. In my opinion, it really wasn’t necessary and I am not even sure if it helped to speed things up.

Aside from that, it was an interesting tour, as they usually are. I did learn two new things that I was previously unaware of. The first is the plan by W.R. Grace to develop an office park on 70 acres of their existing corporate headquarters campus on Grace Drive in Columbia near the village of River Hill. This is certainly a prime location along the Route 32 corridor.

The second piece of big news is that Trammel Crow has received a signed Letter of Intent for 150,000 square of the 200, 000 square foot Franklin Center building at 6841 Benjamin Franklin Drive in Columbia Gateway. It was just a little over a week ago that I wrote a post about this building and the high vacancy rate in that park.

This is great news for the local economy and it’s a further indication that our area is better off than most areas of the country right now.