April 19, 2012. GGP/MPC broke ground this morning on the first phase of the $500 million redevelopment of Columbia’s Town Center. The ground breaking comes three years after the developer won approval of the zoning amendment allowing for 5,500 new housing units and the creation of an new arts district in Symphony Woods.
The early spring morning ceremony was held in front of the vacant Sears store at the mall. The former department store is to be replaced with a new parking garage. County Executive Ken Ulman was joined by Delegate Jud Malone and Councilperson Mary Kay Sigaty in helping GGP/MPC vice president Greg Hamm to swing ceremonial sledge hammers at the building.
Alan Klein, spokesperson for the Coalition for Columbia’s Downtown was also in attendance. “We have always been supportive of this development program,” he said, “and are glad to have contributed to its success.”
GGP/MPC was spun off from General Growth Properties last year as part of the company’s bankruptcy reorganization. The new entity is a joint venture between General Growth Properties and Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company and focuses primarily on master planned communities.
Just before the groundbreaking, the 34th annual Clyde’s 10K race was held in Town Center. 1,200 runners crossed the finish line by 10 AM followed by a massive consumption of carbohydrates.