Some critics of General Growths push for legislation allowing them to remake Town Center in Columbia have questioned what the big hurry is. They point out that since the company is currently in bankruptcy it is unlikely to be able to secure the financing to do anything in the near term anyway.
On the contrary, there is plenty they can do and should be doing right now.
For one, they can begin the arduous and time consuming process of getting site plan approvals for their proposed new layout of buildings and roads. With this in hand they’d be able to aggressively pursue some build to suit requirements such as the national healthcare organization that is presently considering several local sites for a 160,000 square foot office building.
Make no mistake, time is running out on this plan. Despite the bankruptcy, which has resulted in some painful layoffs at GGP, Greg Hamm, the Columbia General Manger, has been able to hold his core development team for Columbia together. That cannot have been easy. If he is unable to show some progress in moving these plans forward, there is a distinct possibility that the company could simply cut their losses and move on. They have already done that with other development projects.
That being said, things are looking up. Last week, despite the efforts of certain planning board members to derail the Town Center plans by inaction and incompetence, ZRA 113 has finally been forwarded to the County Council for final approval.