Tuesday, April 23, 2013

On A Roll

When the Howard Hughes Corporation purchased the former Ryland Headquarters building last August, it was more than half empty. Yesterday, with the announcement that GP Strategies had leased three floors in the nine story office building, it’s now 94% leased. In the commercial real estate game this is a home run.

Howard Hughes is beginning to make home runs look easy. In his remarks at yesterday’s ceremony, John DeWolf, Senior Vice President of Howard Hughes told the guests that downtown Columbia was one of the top three projects for the company. The other two were in Hawaii and New York City.  

There is more exciting news to come in Columbia too, including the pending announcement of the new restaurant for the former Red Pearl space. The company has actually found itself in the enviable position of having to manage announcements so that each new development gets its own time in the spotlight.

And speaking of spotlights, Ken Ulman was also on hand yesterday to help celebrate this latest downtown development and I took the opportunity to chat briefly with him. I asked the exec what he thought about the talk of Dutch Ruppersberger getting into the 2014 gubernatorial race. Ken did not betray any concern about this development. He suggested that it may already too late for Dutch in terms of both grassroots organization and fundraising. Apparently any monies Dutch has raised for his congressional races cannot be used for a statewide race.

In the meantime, Ken can look forward to more opportunities to stand in the spotlight in the coming months as downtown Columbia continues on a roll.
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