Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Working the Plan

I had a pretty interesting afternoon. Leadership Howard County invited me to moderate a panel on the “Drivers of our Local Economy” for this years class. The panelists were Marsha McLaughlin, John DeWolf and Phil Nelson. Marsha gave an overview of the General Plan past and present, John talked about getting shovels in the ground by June, and Phil made it clear that the working relationship between CA and HHC is working.

To make things even more interesting, Katie Essing is in this years class and she joined in the conversation when The Mall came up.

The Mall is in the HoCo loco news week. According to this story by Kevin Rector in Explore Howard, GGP is planning to remove 30,000 square feet of existing retail space and add a 75,000-square-feet "lifestyle center"…”

The plan is to remove the existing L.L. Bean store and, eventually, reopen the old, original main entrance to The Mall. A J. Crew store fills that space now.

L.L. Bean will move into a smaller space in a new 75,000 square foot project being built on the strip of land that separates The Mall from the Fountainhead Title Building. This parcel has already been identified as part of the first phase of the Town Center redevelopment program.
This development will also reconfigure the mall entrance at Little Patuxent and Sterrett Place, creating a new .36 acre amenity area called Warfield Green.

Other highlights were:

Marsha McLaughlin acknowledged that the Route One corridor is not likely to be an office market, continuing instead to be ideal for single story flex buildings and distribution centers.

John DeWolf revealed that Frank Gehry had recently visited Columbia. John said that Gehry had expected to be told that the building was being torn down and was pleased to learn otherwise. He approved of the adaptive reuse that HHC is undertaking and of the overall Town Center plan as well. 

Phil acknowledged that if he had it to do over again, he would have preferred that HHC had taken the lead with the Design Advisory Panel instead of CA.

I’m not sure if this was really a discussion about drivers of the economy as much as it was a HoCo real estate roundup!
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