Thursday, February 10, 2011

Flier Building Going Dark

The Columbia Flier building in Columbia Town Center will soon be vacant. The white metal and glass building located next to Princeton Sports on Little Patuxent Parkway has served as the home of Columbia’s free weekly newspaper for over thirty years. Now the the current owner, the Tribune Company, is moving out of the building.

The Columbia Flier was started by Zeke Orlinsky, a Columbia attorney, back in 1969. In those initial years the paper was housed in a variety of spaces around the county. When I was in high school  in the early seventies my buddies and I used to earn spending money by hand collating the weekly advertiser in a storefront of a printing company Zeke also owned on Main Street in Ellicott City. By the time I graduated from college the paper had grown to well over a hundred pages a week and had established itself as the dominant local media in HoCo. By the late seventies it was outgrowing its editorial and advertising offices which by then were in the offices above the Bagel Bin in the Wilde Lake Village Center. In 1978 Orlinsky moved his media empire, now called Patuxent Publishing, into its own building, cementing its ties to the community.

The building design was controversial at the time. It was the first metal clad building in Columbia’s downtown and that was not initially embraced by The Rouse Company design gurus who held final design approval. Orlinsky and his architect, Bob Moon, persevered and finally convinced them to allow it.

Patuxent Publishing was sold to the Times Mirror Company in 1996 and the 35,000 square foot building was sold to the same group in 1998 for a little over $2.5 million. The Times Mirror Company was acquired by the Tribune Company in 2000.
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