It is hard for a writer to resist doing one of those “year end” retrospective pieces in January or December. This year I succumbed to the urge as I cast about for something to write about in the second week of December that would still seem relevant in January. The Business Monthly had an earlier than usual deadline last month because of the holidays.
What really inspired me though was one of the newest retail centers in Howard County, The Shoppes at Shipleys Grant. This 24,000 square foot strip center, developed by Bavar Properties, is arguably the best designed small retail center in the county. Projects like this raise the bar for all that follow and that is a very good thing.
The contrast of that center and Gateway Overlook is startling. Gateway Overlook with its prime location at the I-95 and MD Route 175 interchange is about as unimaginative as a retail center can be. Even though it has a great lineup of retailers it’s layout is a throwback to retail planning of two decades ago. General Growth Properties inherited a project that was already well underway when they acquired it along with the The Rouse Company in 2004. Much of the blame for the poor design can be laid at the feet of the former Rouse Company executives.
I also couldn’t resist taking a couple of year end pot shots at the dysfunctional Columbia Association board and the anti-growth activists.
You can find my January column here.