Our guest this week on “and then there’s that…” was Greg Hamm, the vice president and general manager of Columbia for General Growth Properties. Greg is a pretty personable fellow and he has a long history of new community development including a stint in Reston, Virginia.
We asked Greg about the continuing opposition to the Columbia Town Center redevelopment plans after the council voted unanimously to approve it. Specifically we were curious as to what the opponents are referring to when the say this is a “giveaway”.
“What is the government actually giving you?” I asked
“I’m still waiting to find that out too, I’d like to pass that on to the people in Chicago as soon as I know. It will help me internally a lot” he quipped.
As Freemarket already noted in his blog this morning, GGP will spend approximately $100 million on creating new public spaces, renovating Merriweather Post Pavilion and creating a new housing trust fund for workforce housing.
True, the government did give the company approximately 3,500 additional housing units as part of the redevelopment program but the company already had the right to build more office and retail space. If anything, the additional housing units give the plan more balance.
“The worst of all worlds for the people of Howard County and Columbia would have been for us to have done more office buildings and retail here.”
And then there’s that…
We also had little fun with local new stories on porn, proms, sprinklers and my buddy Allen Dyer.
Our next podcast will be on March 19th and our guest will be Dick Story, the CEO of the Howard County Economic Development Authority.