Columbia, Maryland Changing From Suburb to City

With the emergence of Merriweather District, Downtown Columbia, Maryland is beginning to take shape as the city that Jim Rouse once envisioned.

Master developers, Howard Hughes, are managing the development as part of a 30-year Downtown Columbia Plan adopted in 2010.

Greg Fitchitt, president of Howard Hughes in Columbia, credits the foundation laid by legendary community-builder James Rouse. Sharing a commitment to growth and sustainability, its goals include: to respect the land; create an environment that would accommodate growth of the people; create a complete city, not just a better suburb; and to make a profit.

“I think Jim Rouse would be thrilled to see what we are doing,” Fitchett said. “We are respecting his foundational values.” Fitchett adds that Downtown Columbia is being updated as a walkable, urban, cultural center with ample open space, pathways and recreational amenities. By 2048, the net fiscal benefit to Howard County from the Downtown Columbia development is projected to be in the range of $25-$31 million per year.

When it comes to leasing, what does it take to fill 320,000 square feet of street-level retail? The Baltimore Business Journal spoke with developers and brokers to learn more.

Learn more about this vision and Downtown Columbia’s evolution on the Baltimore Fishbowl.