Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Town Center Plans Taking Form

The first redevelopment project for Columbia Town Center under the new legislation passed last year, is beginning to take shape. According to the latest issue of the Howard/Arundel Report newsletter, an residential development of 300 to 600 units is in the planning stages for one of the undeveloped parcels around The Mall. The Howard Hughes Corporation “is finalizing negotiations with a first builder.”

This will be welcome news to those who have championed the redevelopment. After five years of planning and negotiation with the county, not to mention the ill conceived attempts to derail progress, many are anxious to see those plans become reality.

Speculation also abounds about the fate of the former Rouse Company headquarters building on the lakefront. Almost a year ago, John DeWolfs predecessor, Greg Hamm, had commissioned a set of preservation guidelines of the aging landmark by Krueck & Sexton Architects. The guidelines were intended “to permit alterations to the building to allow for its adaptive reuse; to better integrate the building with its surroundings; to activate existing and proposed adjacent pedestrian spaces and Downtown Community Commons; and to assure the buildings economic vitality.”

 The study supported “the notion that a fully occupied, broadly used and frequently visited building is the most beneficial condition to assure the long-term life and existence of the building.”

Before any of this happens, Mr. DeWolf probably needs first to find a tenant (or two).
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