Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Downtown Columbia Update

Merriweather Post Pavilion Roof Collapses

Early last Saturday morning, the roof of the Merriweather Post Pavilion collapsed.  No one was injured. The pavilion is in the midst of a major renovation and expansion, and the roof was in the process of being raised 20 feet.  Click here for more information. 
Two Merriweather now includes offices for Pearson, a global online learning company. The ribbon cutting included Leonardo McClarty, Howard County Chamber of Commerce President & CEO; Annie Marhefka, Senior Vice President of School Business Services and Operations at Pearson Online & Blended Learning K-12 ; Ziggy Liaquat, Pearson Global Chief Operating Officer;  Steven Guttentag, co-founder and Managing Director for Pearson Online & Blended Learning K-12; and Gabe Chung,  Vice President of Development  for The Howard Hughes Corporation. 
Pearson Opens New Offices in Downtown Columbia
Online Learning Company Is Lead Tenant at
Two Merriweather
Pearson, the global online learning company, moved into the Two Merriweather office building last month.  The office supports Pearson’s Online & Blended Learning K-12 group, serving over 400,000 students via full-time virtual schools and programs in a personalized and flexible approach to their educations.

Mirroring the experience for students, the Two Merriweather office space offers Pearson employees a modern and fully flexible workspace designed for staff members that split their time between working remotely and in the office.  An open floor plan offers both seated and standing desk options, focus rooms for privacy and floor-to-ceiling windows with views of Merriweather Post Pavilion.  Click here for more information.
The Downtown Columbia Partnership presented a Craft Cocktail Crawl along the Lakefront Promenade in Downtown Columbia.

Festive Fridays Attract Crowds to Lakefront

The Downtown Columbia Partnership presented a Craft Cocktail Crawl in the first of two Festive Fridays to celebrate the holidays. The sold-out crowd of 150 enjoyed an evening tour of four food and drink stations under tents along the Lakefront Promenade in Downtown Columbia. A disc jockey played music while the attendees sampled the attractions and talked with one another.

Participating restaurants included Clyde’s, Petit Louis and Seasons 52 and Cured and 18th & 21st, two new dining establishments opening this spring on the ground floor of the One Merriweather office building.  Sponsors of the event included the Columbia Association and The Howard Hughes Corporation.

The second Festive Friday, focusing on Family Fun, attracted over 400 people. Music, holiday arts and crafts, photo booth, ice sculptor, and strolling characters from Frozen and Star Wars were part of the festivities. Refreshments include free snacks from Clyde’s and free hot chocolate and cookies from Whole Foods Market. Click here for more information.
Fans of Shake Shack flocked to opening day at The Mall in Columbia.

Lots is Shakin’ at The Mall in Columbia

Shake Shack, a modern day “roadside” burger stand, opened across from AMC Theatre at The Mall in Columbia last month.  Crowds immediately lined up for burgers and hot dogs, frozen custard, craft beer and wine.  An invitation-only preview fundraiser for Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center garnered over $6,000 from guests and staff members.  Click here for more information.

Bibibop Asian Grill has opened on the Mall’s outside promenade. Uncle Julio’s Mexican restaurant and the Walrus Oyster & Ale House are expected to open at the end of February or early March, and the Main Event in April. Other new stores that have recently opened include Lolli & Pop’s, Friendly Faces and Love Culture.
Speaking to the crowd at the Construction Industry Summit was Columbia Association’s President and CEO Milton Matthews

Construction Industry Holds Summit

More than 100 people were on hand for the Maryland Construction Network’s Construction Industry Summit at One Merriweather.  Focusing on current and future development, construction and marketing trends, the program included updates by Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman, Howard County EDA Chair Larry Twele and Columbia Association’s President and CEO Milton Matthews.

Prominent regional developers and general contractors were represented by Greg Fitchitt and Bill Rowe of the Howard Hughes Corporation, John DeZinno of Howard Bank, Earl Armiger of Orchard Development, Irene Knott of Whiting-Turner, Steve Rubin of Harkins Builders and Ken Kolb of Keller Construction.  They participated in a panel discussion on topics such as upcoming opportunities, processes for engaging subcontractors and vendors, and more.


In Brief …

Sheraton Hotel Sold Costello Construction has purchased the Sheraton Columbia Downtown Hotel on Lake Kittamaqundi in Downtown Columbia.  The company plans a $10 million renovation of the 197,194 square foot property, including a 33-room addition.  David Costello, President of Costello Construction, is a co-owner of the recently completed Little Patuxent Square mixed use project nearby.  The company also owns and has its headquarters in the office building adjacent to the Sheraton. Click here for more information. 

Anniversary Retrospective The winter issue of Urban Land, published by the Urban Land Institute, features a 6-page story, “Urbanizing the Town Center of Columbia, Maryland.” Undoubtedly occasioned by the city’s 50th anniversary, the article by William P. Macht tracks the evolution of plans for Downtown Columbia.  The story concludes, “Perhaps the process that Columbia now follows to transform its largely suburban core into an urban-scaled downtown may also become a model for retrofits in other suburban areas.”  

Triple-A Credit Rating Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman has announced that the successful annual bond sale conducted last month is expected to save county taxpayers $12.3 million. The success of the sale, Kittleman noted, is due in large part to the county’s Triple-A credit rating, which Howard County has earned for more than 20 years. 

Restaurant Design Interior architect Lena Munther and her work on two new restaurants, Cured and 18th and 21st, were featured in the Winter issue of Her Mind Magazine. Restaurateur Steve Wecker hired Munther to design the interior of his two unique and uniquely different venues. Cured, a farm-to-table restaurant, is using some rustic materials, while the modern speakeasy, 18th and 21st, visually reflects its nightlife focus.  The restaurants, due to open this Spring, are located on the ground level of One Merriweather. Click here for more information.

Social Responsibility  Marketing Director Vanessa Rodriguez was one of the “five powerhouse women” on the panel at Women Crushing It Wednesday in Washington, D.C., last month. Attendees discussed how to better incorporate social responsibility into everyday personal and professional lives.  Rodriguez talked about volunteerism and philanthropy as well as helping other women succeed and advance in their careers.

Mark Your Calendar

“Young Frankenstein”
Musical by Mel Brooks

Through March 11
Toby’s Dinner Theatre
5900 Symphony Woods Road
Box office: 410-730-8311
Howard County Restaurant Weeks
Celebration of local culinary scene including a number of Downtown Columbia restaurants

January 22-February 5
Evening of Irish Music and Poetry
Featuring Michael McCormack

February 9
Smith Theatre
Howard Community College
Admission: $35
Copyright © 2018 The Howard Hughes Corporation, All rights reserved.

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