HHC Plans 817-unit Housing Development in Columbia

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC), master developer for the undeveloped land around the Columbia mall in Columbia, MD, has proposed building up to 817 residences and 70,000 square feet of retail space on a 12.8 [...]

The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC), master developer for the undeveloped land around the Columbia mall in Columbia, MD, has proposed building up to 817 residences and 70,000 square feet of retail space on a 12.8 acre site between two ring roads surrounding the mall. The project is designed to attract young professionals and people who work nearby.

HHC will probably build the project in a joint venture with other companies. Currently unnamed, the project will be developed in phases and will cover five acres. The first phase residences will be offered for rent and will average about 1,000 square feet, with one or two bedrooms.

The area eyed for development lies just beyond the main parking lot that surrounds the mall. The land was chosen because it is centrally located and within easy walking distance of restaurants, stores and other amenities. Water and sewer services are also included.

Preliminary plans for the project will be discussed at an October 27 community meeting at the Student Services Hall on the Howard County Community College campus. The project is being designed to comply with all county zoning requirements.

No timetable is currently available and an estimated cost has not been set yet, but HHC hopes to move ahead as quickly as possible. The architect working on the project is Design Collective of Baltimore and GLW is the civil engineer.

Founded by Howard Hughes and based in Dallas, Texas, the company’s origins can be traced to 1909. In 1996 it was acquired by the Rouse Company which in turn was acquired by General Growth Properties eight years later. On November 9, 2010, upon exiting bankruptcy, GGP spun off The Howard Hughes Corporation as a public company. HHC assumed ownership of all of the GGP’s planned developments, including the one in Columbia.

Columbia is growing and getting ready to launch a 30-year master plan development of its downtown. Thirteen million square feet of mixed-use development will be created, including up to 5,500 residential units, approximately one million square feet of retail, five million square feet of commercial office space and 640 hotel rooms.  HHC’s proposal is the first since the completion of the long-range plan to guide downtown development.