Thursday, April 6, 2017
Downtown Columbia Update

Happy Birthday, Columbia
The Howard Hughes Corporation congratulates Columbia on the launch of its 50th birthday celebration.

The 50,000 daffodils planted by businesses and civic institutions are blooming around town, and the banners proclaiming the 50th are hung on light poles and inside The Mall in Columbia, where opening ceremonies took place on March 19.  What a stirring occasion – complete with a performance by Toby Orenstein’s Young Columbians and eloquent remarks from U.S.  Congressman Elijah Cummings.  Congressman Cummings reminded us of what made Columbia special in the beginning – its openness to people of all backgrounds.
Building on a Foundation of Inclusion
The Howard Hughes Corporation and Whiting-Turner Contracting Company recently co-sponsored an outreach event aimed at sharing information about upcoming business opportunities to Minority, Women, Disabled, Veteran–owned and Local Business Enterprise (MWDVOLBE) contractors.  The session attracted more than 170 attendees, including Howard County Equal Business Opportunity Commission members.

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman, Howard County Council Vice Chair Dr. Calvin Ball and Council member Mary Kay Sigaty welcomed the contractors and encouraged their participation in Downtown Columbia’s revitalization and economic development.  Other speakers included representatives of Whiting-Turner including Robert Kehoe, Division Vice President; Jeff Cooper, Vice President; and Jeff Mudd, Sr. Project Manager; and The Howard Hughes Corporation, including Greg Fitchitt, Vice President of Development; Bill Rowe, Vice President of Design and Construction; and Brent Wise, Portfolio Manager.

The Howard Hughes Corporation team members are proud to be associated with Columbia’s legacy of inclusion and diversity as we work to create a vibrant, walkable central core for Columbia, fulfilling founder James W. Rouse’s expectation that Columbia would be a “real city,” not just a better suburb. 

Merriweather Post Pavilion: Better Than Ever

It may not be apparent to those driving by on Little Patuxent Parkway, but remarkable progress is being made on Merriweather Post Pavilion’s expansion and renovation. The capacity for serving 21st century performers and their technological needs has been dramatically increased, as have the benefits for audience members.  In addition, the backstage area includes amenities that help recruit popular entertainers.  Handsome and comfortable quarters, including a pool for performers and their families, are underway.

In November, The Howard Hughes Corporation officially transferred ownership of Merriweather Post Pavilion to the non-profit Downtown Columbia Arts and Culture Commission.  Joined by County Executive Allan Kittleman, County Council Vice Chairman Dr. Calvin Ball, Councilwoman Mary Kay Sigaty, and other local officials to celebrate the future of Downtown Columbia, HHC  Vice President of Development Greg Fitchitt presented a ceremonial key to DCACC Executive Director Ian Kennedy. 

It was a historic day for Downtown Columbia. Merriweather Post Pavilion is an intrinsic part of creating a vibrant and exciting Downtown. Executive Vice President of Development for The Howard Hughes Corporation, John DeWolf affirmed, "The Merriweather District is intended to be the center of culture and commerce for Columbia, Howard County and the region. Merriweather Post Pavilion is the catalyst for realizing that expectation."

Did you know?

The Howard Hughes Corporation...
How We're Built: 
Q&A with The Howard Hughes Corporation Project Team
Larry Golden
Senior Director of Design & Construction

Q: How long have you been with The Howard Hughes Corporation?
A: Three and a half years.

Q: What is your role in the redevelopment of Downtown Columbia?
A: I oversee the design and construction of all new buildings, including the new MedStar headquarters.

Q: What excites you the most about the future of Downtown Columbia?
A: I am happy to be part of transforming Downtown. When the project is complete, we will have a modern and cool place to eat, shop, meet friends - overall a great place to live and work. 

Q: What is your favorite place in Downtown Columbia?
A: I have been going to concerts at Merriweather Post for over 30 years so it will always be my favorite place.

Q: Tell us a fun fact about yourself?
A: I have built a catapult to chuck pumpkins for the World Championship Punkin Chunkin Competition.

Upcoming Events

As part of Columbia’s 50th Birthday festivities, the Downtown Columbia Partnership will host “Books in Bloom” in cooperation with the Howard County Library System, combining a new literary celebration and the library’s popular summer reading program.  The new book festival will include exhibitions and activations to engage and educated attendees of all ages and will feature activities designed for children.

“Books in Bloom” will showcase author conversations, books readings and signings, panel discussions and other activities on multiple stages. 

It is set for Sunday, June 11, from noon-5 p.m., in The Chrysalis at Merriweather Park in Symphony Woods.
Copyright © 2017 The Howard Hughes Corporation, All rights reserved.

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