Sunday, March 06, 2011

In This Months Business Monthly

There are two iconic white buildings in Columbia, the former Rouse Company headquarters building and the now former Columbia Flier building. Both are non traditional office buildings; one designed by world famous architect Frank Gehry and the other by local architect Bob Moon.

Both buildings symbolized centers of power in the community, one the developer and the other the fourth estate.

The story of the Flier building is also the story of Zeke Orlinsky, the Columbia lawyer who started the paper on his kitchen table. In the late sixties Zeke was the brash upstart publisher who upended what was until then a rather staid HoCo loco media landscape. He achieved this by simply giving his paper away for free to every home in Columbia, no subscription necessary. By the time the Flier building was completed in the early seventies Zeke had created a loco media empire included other community papers, a magazine and local phone directories.

It’s hard to predict the fate of the building now that its new owners have decided to move out. Its unique design poses some real challenges for the next occupant. Like its white cousin down the road, it will likely require a substantial capital investment in renovations to make it attractive for potential users. The HVAC system for example, has been problematic since the building first opened.

You can read this months column here.
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