MAKING A SPECIAL PLACE
                                                                                                                          “Downtown Columbia will be a diverse, mixed-use,
                                                                                                                          livable, physically distinctive and human-scaled
                                                                                                                          place with a range of housing choices and recre-
                                                                                                                          ational, civic, cultural and educational amenities.

                                                                                                                          1.1 ROUSE VISION | CONTINUE AND

                                                                                                                          enhance Jim Rouse’s vision of Columbia as a
                                                                                                                          thriving, socially responsible and environmentally-
                                                                                                                          friendly place for people of all ages, incomes and
                                                                                                                          backgrounds.” —Downtown Columbia: A Community Vision

                                                                                                                          Jim Rouse envisioned the planned community of

                                                 PHOTO BY JOANN STOLLEY, COURTESY OF COLUMBIA ARCHIVES
                                                                                                                          Columbia as a socially responsible, environmentally-
                                                                                                                          friendly and financially successful place in which
                                                                                                                          people of all ages, incomes, and backgrounds could
                                                                                                                          grow as individuals, neighbors and citizens. His
                                                                                                                          strategic goals for what was to be a new kind of
                                                                                                                          community included:

                                                                                                                          ■ Provide a real, comprehensive, balanced city

                                                                                                                          ■ Respect the land and allow the land to impose
                                                                                                                            itself as a discipline on the form of the community

                                                                                                                          ■ Provide the best possible environment
                                                                                                         James W. Rouse     for the growth of people

                                                                                                                          ■ Realize a profit

                                                                                                                              MAKING A SPECIAL PLACE | Rouse Vision | 5
These goals remain as relevant today as they were                                             The planning challenge today is how best to
40 years ago, when Rouse first broke ground on                                                 complete Rouse’s vision of a “real city” by creating a
Columbia. To achieve these goals, Rouse built                                                 vital Town Center in which residents can live, shop,
Columbia as a series of nine interconnected resi-                                             work, entertain, exercise and enjoy cultural oppor-
dential villages, each with its own civic/service                                             tunities in an enriched natural setting. General
center, which surrounded a larger Town Center,                                                Growth Properties intends to redevelop its prop-
intended to serve as Columbia’s downtown.                                                     erty in Town Center and work with other property
Rouse’s new community was designed to provide                                                 owners to create a dynamic, walkable downtown
a wide spectrum of retail, office, educational,                                                that lives up to its citizens’ needs and its founder’s
recreational, and cultural uses, as well as a mix of                                          expectations: a downtown that will serve as a
residential offerings for people with a range of                                              strong new heart for Columbia. ■
incomes. It has been successful in much of what
was intended.

Despite the passage of four decades, however,
Columbia’s downtown never developed the char-
acter one expects in the heart of a community. It
is still primarily suburban in nature with relatively
undistinguished office buildings and an enclosed
shopping mall at its core. It is a sparsely popu-
lated, automobile-dependent area, with isolated
amenities separated from one another by what has
become a vehicular thoroughfare.

                                                        PHOTO COURTESY OF COLUMBIA ARCHIVES

                                                                                                                                                       Photo, Original Model

6 | Rouse Vision |    MAKING A SPECIAL PLACE
                                                                                                    Lake Kittamaqundi and Symphony Woods, intended as the
                        1.2 SYMBOLS | “CONSERVE SYMBOLS OF COLUMBIA’S PAST
                                                                                                    primary landscape elements of Town Center, were planned
                        found throughout the downtown area, recognizing that they
                                                                                                    to become lasting and emblematic symbols in the region.
                        contribute to the authentic character of downtown and reinforce
                                                                                                    The redevelopment of Town Center will fulfill the vision for
                        its qualities as a special place.” —Downtown Columbia: A Community Vision
                                                                                                    these seminal places.

                        A revitalized and redeveloped downtown Columbia will look to
                                                                                                    The redevelopment of Town Center also creates the
                        the future in its planning and design, and it will memorialize those
                                                                                                    opportunity to raise the design standards of Columbia
                        elements of its past worth preserving and remembering.
                                                                                                    with attractive and distinctive office buildings, retail shops
                                                                                                    and housing, as well as with artisan-quality public benches
                        Such art and artifacts as “The People Tree,” the statue of Jim
                                                                                                    and lighting, street furniture and signage, color and other
                        Rouse and his brother Willard, the granite sculpture of “The
                                                                                                    elements to add diversity and interest for people of different
                        Bear” and its cubs, as well as “The Hug,” a memorial to Columbia
                                                                                                    ages and backgrounds and for visitors and residents alike. ■
                        architect and planner Mort Hoppenfeld, and the plaque listing
Bear and Nursing Cubs   the names of Wilde Lake High School’s first graduating class are
                        part of Columbia’s history and will be part of downtown’s future

                                                                                                    The Dealings

                                         The Hug

                                     The People Tree

                                                                                                                     MAKING A SPECIAL PLACE | Symbols | 7
to form well-defined districts within downtown;                                                  A Traditional Mixed-Use Neighborhood for Families
orient structures to the street, making them inviting                                           Location: East of Governor Warfield Parkway and west to northwest of
to pedestrians; and establish bulk regulations,                                                 The Mall in Columbia.
including height limits, appropriate to each district’s
                                                                                                Warfield will be directly adjacent to existing residential and retail areas.
character. “        —Downtown Columbia: A Community Vision
                                                                                                Future development will be compatible with these existing areas and
                                                                                                will occur along streets connecting to The Mall. Mixed-use buildings will
               THE NEIGHBORHOODS
                                                                                                include up to eight stories of residential units and offices above retail
This Amendment includes five new and reconfig-
                                                                                                shops. Streets and sidewalks are expected to be active with both residents
ured downtown neighborhoods – Warfield, The
                                                                                                and shoppers. Parking will be provided both on-street and in garages.
Lakefront, The Crescent, Merriweather and Sym-
                                                                                                The sidewalks, parks, plazas, playgrounds and other public spaces in this
phony Overlook. The neighborhood structure for
                                                                                                distinctly urban residential neighborhood encourage interaction of resi-
downtown encourages a greater mix of uses with
                                                                                                dents and are activity centers for all ages.
the emphasis on certain uses varying between
                                                             Illustrati Plan
                                                             Ill t tive
                                                             Illustrative Plan
neighborhoods. That mix of uses combined with
each district’s plan for amenity spaces creates a
distinctive identity for each neighborhood.

                                      The Lakefront


                                                                                                                Street Scene, Warfield

                   The Crescent

                                                             Residential Side Street, Warfield

8 | Districts |    MAKING A SPECIAL PLACE
The Warfield neighborhood will have a number                                                THE LAKEFRONT
of unique features. Development will include a                                             Bringing Community Life and Activity Back to the Water’s Edge
cross-town walking route from the Warfield Park-
                                                                                           Location: Lake Kittamaqundi westward to The Mall and from
way entrance to The Mall and through it to the
                                                                                           Little Patuxent Parkway on the north to The Crescent on the south.
Lakefront. The existing plaza entry to The Mall
will be expanded with additional green space; the                                          The Lakefront neighborhood will be a walkable community, connected
resulting Warfield Plaza will be the focus of the                                           and oriented to Lake Kittamaqundi. At the north end of this waterfront
neighborhood and serve as a daytime and evening                                            neighborhood, there will be a modestly-scaled primarily residential and
gathering space for programmed and impromptu                                               hotel community along a redesigned and extended Wincopin Street, which
activities. Warfield Square, adjacent to restaurants                                        will be lined with trees. The central lakefront area at the existing fountain
and a cinema, will be another important gathering                                          and pier will retain its identity as an important historic and symbolic
space that will be active into the evening hours.                                          gathering place, and it will be revitalized with new development including
Warfield Plaza and Warfield Square will be con-                                              retail, restaurant, office, residential and hospitality uses that bring people
nected by a retail-lined street. Warfield Playground                                        to this part of Columbia. Restoration of the area’s physical amenities and
will be a small neighborhood children’s park that      Illustrative Plan                   natural environment will also encourage more active use, as well as provide
provides a safe and secure area for young children                                         an enhanced setting for performances, festivals and other events.
to play. Soft surfaces along with planted areas will
characterize the space. Other small green respites
and recreation spaces will further enhance the
Warfield neighborhood. ■

                                                       Cafe and Promenade, The Lakefront

   Santana Row, San Jose, CA

                                                                                                                            MAKING A SPECIAL PLACE | Districts | 9
Fountain Terrace, The Lakefront

The Lakefront area has been isolated from other        of these connections to the lake crosses Little
areas of Town Center, and this Amendment               Patuxent Parkway which will be transformed into
includes a variety of means to enhance connec-         a more pedestrian-friendly street with sidewalks,
tivity. Three new amenity space corridors extending    crosswalks and signal timing for pedestrians to
east to west will link The Lakefront neighborhood      encourage walking between adjacent neighbor-
to other downtown destinations. The Mall will be       hoods.
connected to the central lakefront area by a series
of terraces with fountains that descend down the       Additionally, this Amendment encourages
slope to the water. The Symphony Overlook neigh-       exploring the possibility of improving the existing
borhood will be linked to Lake Kittamaqundi by         pathway connection between the Lakefront and
extending a major east/west retail street to a green   Symphony Woods or providing a new pedestrian
park that slopes and terraces down to the water’s      connection between these two activity centers. This
edge. To the north, a pedestrian promenade will        Amendment further recommends completing the
extend from the Warfield neighborhood to the            pedestrian pathway around Lake Kittamaqundi. ■
natural area north of Lake Kittamaqundi. Each

                                                                                                             Celebration, FL

10 | Districts |    MAKING A SPECIAL PLACE
                               THE CRESCENT                                                                  these buildings. This curving street with sidewalks
                               Where New Urban Settings Face an Extensive Wooded Park                        along building fronts and paths along the edge of
                                                                                                             the green space will connect The Crescent north
                               Location: East of Broken Land Parkway, south of Little Patuxent Parkway,
                                                                                                             to Symphony Overlook and The Lakefront. Paths
                               west of South Entrance Road and south of the Merriweather neighborhood.
                                                                                                             will also connect The Crescent to Merriweather,
                               The Crescent neighborhood will have many distinctive features. Its greatest   which will allow parking built for office uses in The
                               asset will be its natural setting amidst preserved and enhanced woodlands     Crescent to be shared by patrons of Merriweather
                               and tributaries to Symphony Stream and the Little Patuxent River. A new       Post Pavilion. ■
                               mixed-use neighborhood with residences, offices, shops, restaurants,
                               and other uses, The Crescent will become a live-work location as well as
                               an employment center. Maximum building heights of 15 to 20 stories will
                               frame the Merriweather neighborhood in a distinctive curving arc. A new
                               street between The Crescent and Merriweather will provide an entry for

Illustrative Plan

                                                                                                             Legacy, Plano, TX

Weekend Market, The Crescent

                                                                                                                     MAKING A SPECIAL PLACE | Districts | 11
                                  MERRIWEATHER                                                                            uses into the natural landscape. A new system of
                                  A Strengthened Tradition in a New Kind of Cultural Park                                 paths and infrastructure will support festivals and
                                                                                                                          other events in the park. Natural areas to the south
                                  Location: South of Little Patuxent Parkway between
                                                                                                                          will be improved by removing invasive species,
                                  The Crescent and Symphony Overlook
                                                                                                                          restoring stream corridors with native vegetation
                                  Merriweather will be a new kind of cultural park where the landscape                    and the planting of up to 15,000 new trees.
                                  becomes a setting for arts, cultural and civic uses. It will be anchored by an
                                  enhanced Merriweather Post Pavilion. Civic and cultural uses, such as a new             Merriweather will be connected to the heart of
                                  Columbia Association headquarters, library, museum, galleries, and sculp-               Symphony Overlook along a new north/south axis
                                  ture garden could be located along the northern edge of Merriweather.                   from Market Square at The Mall. Pedestrians will
                                  These civic and cultural uses may have compatible commercial uses such                  cross Little Patuxent Parkway at a new vehicular
                                  as a café in the park or museum shop. Buildings will be set back from roads             entrance to Merriweather. This intersection,
                                  with tree canopies framing the cultural buildings as a way to integrate those           designed to allow for safe crossing of the Parkway,
                                                                                                                          will lead to a new Fountain Plaza which connects
Illustrative Plan                                                                                                         directly to Merriweather Post Pavilion. The streets
                                                                                                                          of Merriweather that connect to the civic and
                                                                                                                          cultural uses will be designed as park drives
                                                                                                                          compatible with the topography. These drives can
                                                                                                                          be closed during performances and other events. ■

Santana Row, San Jose, CA

                                                                                             Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, The Woodlands, TX

12 | Districts |    MAKING A SPECIAL PLACE
                                                              Easton Town Center, Columbus, OH

Market Square, Symphony Overlook

                                   SYMPHONY OVERLOOK
                                   Where the New Downtown Meets Culture in the Park
                                   Location: North of Little Patuxent Parkway
                                   and south of The Mall.
                                   Symphony Overlook will connect The Mall to the
                                   cultural uses in the Merriweather district. It will be
                                   a crossroads of activity where a vibrant mix of retail,       Easton Town Center, Columbus, OH
                                   office, hotel/convention and some residential uses
                                   are focused on two walkable urban streets lined with          plaza that changes with the seasons and with events staged
                                   retail at street level. One is west-to-east connecting        in the space. At various times, an overhead structural frame
                                   Warfield to The Lakefront. The other key street is             could become an interactive fountain, a canopy for a market
                                   north-to-south connecting The Mall to Merriweather.           or concert, or even a shelter for ice skating. Programming
                                   These two streets will intersect at Market Square,            of Market Square will be done to complement activities and
                                   a new amenity space to be created in the heart of             events planned throughout Columbia - downtown as well as
                                   Symphony Overlook. Market Square will be an urban             in the other villages. ■
Illustrative Plan

                                                                                                                              MAKING A SPECIAL PLACE | Districts | 13
1.4 COMMERCIAL BALANCE | “DESIGN A                        The Mall, on the other hand, has always included
VARIETY OF DOWNTOWN commercial activities                 major department stores and a variety of smaller
that complement the flexible evolution of                  clothing and shoe stores, toys, books and record
neighboring Village Centers in Oakland Mills and          shops, and other popular stores.
Wilde Lake, recognizing each center’s identity and
role.”           —Downtown Columbia: A Community Vision

From the beginning, Jim Rouse intended to provide
Columbia’s residents with a mix of amenities and
activities that would appeal to people of different
incomes and backgrounds.

Columbia’s earliest village centers, built in the early
1970’s, reflected their times. Their retail opera-
tions were sometimes “mom and pop” stores that
responded to basic needs of residents; each center
usually included a barber shop, drycleaners, a
neighborhood restaurant, as well as a grocery
store. There were offices for dentists and accoun-
tants and other service providers.

Santana Row, San Jose, CA

                                                          Santana Row, San Jose, CA

14 | Commercial Balance |       MAKING A SPECIAL PLACE
                             Both the village centers and The Mall in Columbia          The redevelopment of Columbia Town Center
                             have experienced changes over the years.                   will include the addition of many new shops,
                             Currently, the village centers, in particular, are in      restaurants and cultural facilities, in addition to
                             the throes of market change and economic pres-             expansion at The Mall. As the downtown residential
                             sures. Redevelopment of the older villages may             community grows, the needs for products and
                             occur as they seek to adapt to current economic            services will also grow, providing customers for
                             conditions and consumer habits. However, the               current and future downtown retailers but also
                             older village centers in particular are strug-             for retailers throughout the area. It is expected
                             gling with vacancies. Keeping the village centers          that village centers will experience an increase
                             economically strong is vital to Columbia and the           in business, particularly when improvements
                             redevelopment of Town Center. Any redevelop-               are made in the range of transportation services,
                             ment of village centers should be consistent with          including buses, shuttles, local taxis, shared cars,
                             the original village concept and should provide            that could bring them customers from other
                             retail, services and community space designed to           villages and Town Center.
                             meet the local convenience needs of the village of
                             which it is a part. Consequently, strong pedestrian        The “balance” ahead will be afforded by customers
                             orientation from and to the village neighborhoods          who frequent both village centers and Town
                             and a mix of use types should be encouraged. The           Center. A better market for one is a better market
                             appropriate balance and intensity of uses should           for all. ■
                             correspond to the individual village’s needs and
                             character, and specific guiding principles and prior-
                             ities should be developed for each village center. At
                             a minimum, any village center redevelopment must
                             provide for at least 75% of the ground floor space
                             of any building to contain retail and village wide
                             community uses. The community spaces should be
                             both indoor and outdoor spaces such as commu-
                             nity wide meeting space and outdoor gathering
                             places. All proposed village center redevelopment
                             plans should be presented to and reviewed by the
                             Village Board and the village community through at
                             least three advertised public meetings.

Bethesda Row, Bethesda, MD

                                                                                     MAKING A SPECIAL PLACE | Commercial Balance | 15
                                                            The need for affordable housing exists today and
                                                            will likely continue to grow into the future. Signifi-
ensuring that low-, moderate- and middle-income
                                                            cantly, however, what at times can be overlooked
families have an opportunity to live in Downtown,
                                                            is the important relationship between reason-
thus continuing the original vision of Columbia as
                                                            able opportunities for affordable housing and
an inclusive community.”
                                                            the economic health of the County. General Plan
                   —Downtown Columbia: A Community Vision
                                                            2000 recognized this significance and identified
                                                            the important relationship between the need for
This Amendment recognizes and celebrates the
                                                            affordable housing and the County’s employment
original vision of Jim Rouse to create a socially
                                                            growth, and its demand for low and moderate-
responsible city for people of all ages, incomes and
                                                            income workers. In this regard, General Plan 2000
backgrounds. The establishment of an ongoing
                                                            recognized that to the degree low- and moderate-
mechanism for providing a diverse mix of low-,
                                                            income workers can be housed in the County, the
moderate-, and middle-income housing into
                                                            County’s economic development prospects are
the future is an important social responsibility
                                                            improved. In addition, General Plan 2000 further
shared by us all. Of related but equal importance
                                                            recognized that by providing more affordable            Legacy, Plano, TX
is encouraging within downtown Columbia itself
                                                            housing it becomes possible for residents’ chil-
the diversity of people that exists elsewhere in
                                                            dren and parents, as well as teachers, firemen and
Columbia today. Realizing this diversity will be
                                                            policemen to live in the County. The accommoda-
important to the social and economic success of
                                                            tion of work force housing is a goal shared by all.
the downtown, where the mixing of individuals
with different backgrounds and incomes will result
                                                            General Plan 2000 (Policy 4.2) recommends
in an ongoing exchange of ideas in an environment
                                                            providing affordable housing for existing low- and
where residents, workers and visitors will have an
                                                            moderate-income residents and for the diverse
opportunity to learn from one another and grow
                                                            labor force needed for continuing economic
together as a community.
                                                            growth. Policy 4.2 also recommends that new
                                                            funding sources be identified to enable the Office
Downtown Columbia: A Community Vision recap-
                                                            of Housing and Community Development to
tures the spirit of the Rouse vision for a complete
                                                            expand the supply of affordable housing to serve
city in which different types of people live together
                                                            low- or moderate-income households, including
to create a fully realized community. In such
                                                            seniors and persons with disabilities. In a similar
respect, this Amendment also recognizes the
                                                            context, Downtown Columbia: A Community Vision
enrichment a community can experience through
                                                            expands upon these objectives and suggests that
the diversity of its people. This Amendment strives
                                                            new models for developing affordable housing in
to achieve this objective through the provision of
                                                            combination with mixed-use development should
expanded residential opportunities for in-town
                                                            generate new and innovative techniques for
living in both housing form and affordability, and
                                                            achieving these objectives. It is with these policy     Rockville Town Square, Rockville, MD
through the establishment of a community housing
                                                            statements in mind that this Amendment proposes
fund which will be used to help meet the afford-
                                                            a means of providing a full spectrum of housing for
able housing needs of the community.
                                                            downtown Columbia.

16 | Diverse Housing |     MAKING A SPECIAL PLACE
As detailed below, this Amendment recommends                                       To provide housing in downtown Columbia that
an innovative and flexible strategy to address                                      will be affordable to individuals and families
downtown Columbia’s affordable housing needs.                                      earning 80%-120% of the Howard County median
By recommending a combination of traditional                                       income, this Amendment recommends that
construction applications and the establishment                                    ten percent (10%) of the new dwelling units be
of a community housing fund to be administered                                     constructed to standards that will help make those
consistent with affordable housing needs that                                      units more affordable to the target population.
exist in the future, this Amendment reaffirms                                       The construction standards could be established
GGP’s commitment to a diverse mix of housing in                                    annually by a Community Housing Foundation
downtown Columbia. The flexible approach recom-                                     (“Foundation”) or other appropriate organiza-
mended by this Amendment also provides an                                          tion (discussed below) based upon an established
important mechanism for addressing the housing                                     affordability index that is tied to then-existing
needs of downtown Columbia today and into the                                      market conditions. To achieve the affordability
future.                                                                            target, a limitation will be imposed through the
                                                                                   Final Development Plan approval process to regu-
Mixed-Income Housing                                                               late the size and finishes of ten percent (10%) of
The mixed-income housing program for downtown                                      the new housing units so that the market-rate for
Columbia (“Program”) should establish a flexible                                    the unit will be reduced to a level affordable to
model that aspires to make twenty percent (20%)                                    income earners at the 80%-120% Howard County
of all new housing in downtown affordable to                                       median income range. The Foundation will be
individuals earning less than 120% of the Howard                                   given a right of first refusal to purchase/rent each
County median income. To achieve this objective,                                   affordable unit constructed under this program.
this Amendment recommends the combination of
specific affordable housing construction standards                                  To provide housing in downtown Columbia that
and an innovative subsidy program for downtown                                     will be affordable to individuals and low-income
residents. To be successful the Program should                                     families earning less than 80% of the Howard
service a broad range of affordable housing needs   Post Carlyle, Alexandria, VA   County median income, this Amendment also
in downtown. Therefore, the Program should be                                      recommends that a target of ten percent (10%) of
flexible enough to allow decisions concerning                                       all new units downtown should be made afford-
the distribution of the subsidy to be based upon                                   able to individuals and families earning this level of
specific affordable housing needs that might exist                                  income.
at any given point in time. To maximize commu-
nity benefit, subsidy distribution decisions could                                  The Foundation should function as a not-for-profit
include such actions as direct rent/mortgage                                       organization whose primary responsibility will be
subsidy payments, the purchase of existing market                                  the management of an affordable housing fund
units for reallocation as low- or moderate-income                                  (Fund) and the distribution of a Tenant-Purchaser
housing units, or the development of new afford-                                   Subsidy (TPS) to achieve specific affordable
able units.                                                                        housing objectives specified in its bylaws. Although
                                                                                   the bylaws will be specific in its identification of
                                                                                   affordable housing objectives, it is recommended
                                                                                   that the Foundation be given the flexibility to make

                                                                                   MAKING A SPECIAL PLACE | Diverse Housing | 17
decisions on how best to administer the Program in       lish the Foundation and to provide an initial level of   charge would be established at the time of Final
light of the downtown’s affordable housing needs         Program funding of five million dollars ($5,000,000)      Development Plan approval and would include an
at any point in time. This flexibility will provide the   paid in three tranches as follows:                       annual CPI escalator. The Final Development Plan
Foundation with the opportunity to address the                                                                    would also require the Covenant to be recorded
most significant housing needs downtown as the            Tranche 1, Three Million Dollars                         prior to building permit release, and the Covenant
community matures over time. This Amendment              ($3,000,000) paid at the time GGP obtains Final          itself would require the per square foot charge to
further recommends that the Program be flexible           Development Plan approval for the first new resi-         be paid prior to issuance of building permit.
enough to permit the exercise of reasonable judg-        dential unit in Town Center;
ment by the Foundation to distribute Foundation                                                                   These sources of funds will subsidize approxi-
funds to serve other needs that it deems might           Tranche 2, One Million Dollars                           mately 550 units (about 10% of total inventory),
be needed in downtown. For example, such judg-           ($1,000,000) paid at the time that GGP or other          of which, 60% are assumed to be rental and 40%
ment could include providing a subsidy to needy          developer obtains the residential building permit        to be for sale products. As indicated above, the
residents to help make day care more afford-             for the 200th new unit in Town Center; and               remaining 10% of the total inventory subject to the
able. This Amendment recognizes this flexibility                                                                   program will be achieved through the imposition
is of greater importance than meeting individual         Tranche 3, One Million Dollars                           of construction standards thus bringing the total
specific housing quotas to allow the Fund to help         ($1,000,000) at the time that GGP or other developer     program target to 20%. The Foundation should
address a variety of community needs. In this way,       obtains the residential building permit for the 400th    also be enabled to use its best efforts to leverage
the locally-based Foundation can determine how           new unit in Town Center.                                 the Fund to obtain additional financial assistance
best to use the Fund. As noted above, in addition to                                                              through local, state and federal affordable housing
administering the TPS, the Foundation could also         The second source of funds shall be provided             programs. Additional funding might also be
use funds to purchase/rent existing units and offer      through a one-time per unit affordable housing           provided through the investment of funds by the
them as affordable units or even to develop new          charge of four thousand ($4,000) per dwelling unit       Foundation or other funding sources.
affordable units, perhaps using a combination of         to be imposed through private covenants that will
the Fund and other Federal or State housing assis-       be recorded against each property within Town            As an alternative approach, the TPS Program and
tance resources.                                         Center that is approved for new residential devel-       related funds might instead be administered by an
                                                         opment. The per unit charge would be established         existing public charity having the same composi-
The Foundation should have a locally-based Board         at the time of Final Development Plan approval           tion suggested above to provide input into the
of Directors. Membership should include indi-            and would include an annual CPI escalator. The           administration of the Program. This approach might
viduals familiar with Columbia Town Center and           Final Development Plan would also require the            simplify the operations of the Program by taking
individuals experienced in providing affordable          Covenant to be recorded prior to building permit         advantage of an existing experienced staff and
housing to meet community needs. The Founda-             release, and the Covenant itself would require           could reduce the amount of start-up time needed
tion should also have community and property             the per unit charge to be paid prior to issuance of      to initiate the Program. ■
owner representation. Because General Growth             building permit.
Properties will have a significant initial and ongoing
responsibility in downtown, as discussed below,          The third source of funds shall be provided
the Foundation should include a General Growth           through a per square foot charge in the amount
Properties representative.                               of five cents ($.05) per square foot of gross leas-
                                                         able area to be imposed annually through private
The Program will be financed through three (3)            covenants that will be recorded against each prop-
sources of funds. The first source of funds shall be      erty within Town Center that is approved for new
provided by General Growth Properties to estab-          commercial development. This per square foot

18 | Diverse Housing |     MAKING A SPECIAL PLACE
                                                         high vacancy rate of office space in Town Center            frame. As the office market continues to evolve, a
                                                         is not a reflection of regional demand but of the           redeveloped and revitalized Town Center will be
DOWNTOWN’S FUNCTION as a major financial
                                                         absence of new class A office space integrated with         viewed as an attractive alternative for employers
and economic center for Columbia and for Howard
                                                         a mixed-use setting. Negative occupancy trends in          looking for high quality space within an amenity
County.”        —Downtown Columbia: A Community Vision
                                                         downtown have also begun to affect surrounding             filled environment. Much of this office space will
                                                         village centers in Columbia. If not corrected, this        feature retail uses on the first floor, creating both
The continued role of Columbia Town Center as a
                                                         trend could threaten the economic life of the entire       convenient and vibrant streetscapes for employees,
major financial and economic center is dependent
                                                         community.                                                 as well as the general public. In economic terms,
on enhancements to the variety and availability of
                                                                                                                    by providing space for expansion of current
land uses and activities. Currently the economic
                                                         Columbia Town Center, however, has multiple                employers and opportunities for new and relo-
core of Columbia is supported by the office
                                                         assets at its disposal which, if deployed properly,        cated businesses, this additional office space will
concentration, The Mall in Columbia and other
                                                         will create a dynamic environment for employers,           establish downtown Columbia as a major economic
retail, the Sheraton hotel, Merriweather Post
                                                         employees, visitors and residents. Downtown                center for the County and will generate significant
Pavilion and the existing residential base. Economic
                                                         Columbia still enjoys a strong retail environment          new employment opportunities and millions of
activity in terms of employment, spending and tax
                                                         and its centrally located mall attracts some 15            dollars in wages and tax revenues.
revenue generation is woven throughout these
                                                         million visitors a year. This retail-driven vitality is
                                                         often the hardest element to create in economi-            To support downtown’s function as a major
                                                         cally successful mixed use settings; therefore,            financial and economic center, new businesses
In order to sustain and increase this economic
                                                         downtown should be well-positioned to reverse              must be attracted to Town Center. These
activity, this Amendment provides strategies across
                                                         negative economic trends. Additionally, Columbia           businesses will need quality hotel, meeting and
a number of different areas and issues. The founda-
                                                         is in the heart of a region which stands to benefit         conference facilities, preferably within walking
tion underlying these strategies is the creation of
                                                         from changes to military operations. Job growth            distance to their offices. There are a number of
a vibrant mixed-use environment where various
                                                         stemming from the relocation of many jobs related          downtown sites that are ideal for hotels, and at
economic drivers support each other. There
                                                         to the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Act             least 640 additional hotel rooms for Town Center is
are many relevant economic success stories of
                                                         is expected to bring as many as 40,000 new jobs to         proposed in this Amendment.
well-planned, mixed-use projects incorporating
                                                         the area approximate to Fort Meade. The lack of
principles of new urbanism. Reston Town Center in
                                                         any significant nearby comprehensively planned
Virginia, The Woodlands in Texas and Santana Row
                                                         area with a walkable vertical mixed-use component
in California are three widely known examples of
                                                         provides an opportunity for downtown Columbia
economically successful mixed-use projects.
                                                         to regain its prominence as a major employment
                                                         base. With Columbia optimally located between
Over recent years, the core of job growth in
                                                         Baltimore and Washington D.C., being relatively
Columbia has shifted from Town Center to
                                                         close to an international airport, and the additional
Gateway which features newer and higher quality
                                                         jobs mentioned above as a result of BRAC, the
office product and closer access to I-95. Downtown
                                                         demand for office product in Columbia should
Columbia has been experiencing job loss with a
                                                         continue to increase into the future.
current office vacancy rate of about 25 percent in
its approximately 2.5 million square feet of office
                                                         In terms of the creation of additional employ-
inventory. Comparatively, the county-wide office                                                                     The Waterway, The Woodlands, TX
                                                         ment opportunities, this Amendment designates
vacancy rate is about 16 percent and Gateway
                                                         a total of five million square feet of office space
is at a relatively low eight percent. The current
                                                         to be developed in phases over its 30-year time

                                                                                                                   MAKING A SPECIAL PLACE | Economic Activity | 19
In addition to commercial uses, Town Center’s          housing downtown. Residents will support the               restaurants and services will not be willing to locate
cultural amenities create economic benefits for         retail, restaurants, services and cultural facilities in   in Town Center without a sufficient customer base.
not only Columbia, but the County as a whole.          the redeveloped Town Center and will be consid-            This usually entails office workers during the day;
Currently, Merriweather Post Pavilion attracts         ered the primary customer base for these entities.         and residents at night and on weekends. By the
thousands annually with a variety of concerts and      In order to support the necessary conveniences             same token, businesses will not be willing to locate
events. In addition to direct spending at the venue,   desired in residential communities, a sufficient            to downtown Columbia without strong amenity
many patrons eat at local restaurants or shop at       number of residences will need to be developed.            offerings including retail, restaurants, services and
local stores before or after events.                                                                              lodging within walking distance. It is this bundling
                                                       In the most basic sense, it is the mix of uses that        of uses that will distinguish Columbia Town Center
This Amendment calls for significant improve-           will fuel the economic vitality of the area and            from other potential locations for businesses, resi-
ments to Merriweather Post Pavilion which will         enhance the experience and attractiveness of               dents, civic and cultural entities. ■
enhance the attractiveness of the venue and ulti-      downtown for each use and occupant. Retail,
mately improve the economic benefit of this entity.
Moreover, the enhanced pedestrian connections
between Merriweather Post Pavilion and existing
and new restaurant, retail and entertainment
uses will increase synergy and economic activity
throughout Town Center.

Along with cultural attractions, shopping venues
draw people to Town Center, and The Mall in
Columbia is one of Maryland’s top-performing
regional malls. Non-enclosed, open-air expansions
of The Mall in the areas surrounding the current
mall complex will provide opportunity for adding
many new retailers and uses. Additionally, retail,
restaurant and service entities will be incorporated
on the first floor of office, residential, hotel and,
possibly, civic and cultural buildings throughout
the redeveloped Town Center. These will provide
ample opportunities for accommodating local
merchants and expanding the appeal and vibrant
marketplace ambiance of the downtown area as a

The existing residential base in Town Center also
generates economic activity. Increased revenue
to both the County and the Columbia Associa-
tion are direct and immediate results of adding

                                                       Pentagon Row, Arlington, VA

20 | Economic Activity |    MAKING A SPECIAL PLACE
                                                             By creating a state-of-the-art library facility, the
                                                             Howard County Library can grow from a greatly
                                                             respected public resource to a renowned, inno-
Columbia’s nationally recognized quality of life.”
                                                             vative and truly exceptional institution. General
                    —Downtown Columbia: A Community Vision
                                                             Growth Properties has begun discussions with
                                                             library officials to structure and facilitate a land and
Civic life is one of the hallmarks of the Columbia
                                                             building partnership to allow for this new facility.
experience. The redevelopment of Town Center
affords a unique opportunity to enhance that
                                                             Fire and Police Station
experience and to actually help build a sense of
                                                             GGP will work with the County to determine a
                                                             suitable location for a relocated and expanded
                                                             fire station and a police substation in down-
In order to contribute to Columbia’s civic life,
                                                             town Columbia. The opportunity exists to utilize
General Growth Properties plans to create a
                                                             this facility as a community gathering and youth
dynamic hub of community space that will
                                                             recreational space. Additionally, incorporating
encourage public engagement and enhance the
                                                             mixed-use and affordable housing into the new fire
local quality of life. This will be accomplished
                                                             station are among the ideas to be considered when
through thoughtful and creative urban planning
                                                             selecting its location.
and by strategically building facilities in Town
Center that will house established and new civic                                                                       Howard County Central Library, Columbia, MD
                                                             Columbia Archives
                                                             The Columbia Archives is another important public
                                                             institution that contributes to Columbia’s vibrant
Howard County Library
                                                             community-focused culture. The Archives plays a
The Howard County Library is one of the best
                                                             vital role in preserving the unique past of Columbia
library systems in the country. While its success as
                                                             as well as educating the public about how the
a public institution is irrefutable, it has the exciting
                                                             beginnings of Columbia affect its life today. This
opportunity, given the right tools, to grow further
                                                             Amendment recommends the construction of a
into a leader of library innovation. This Amend-
                                                             Columbia Visitor Center in downtown. This center
ment recommends that a new Central Library be
                                                             will serve as an informative resource center for visi-
built downtown, preferably within the new cultural
                                                             tors, house educational resources about the city,
district in the Merriweather neighborhood. This
                                                             act as a vibrant community center and provide a
new library complex could move the Howard
                                                             new and more appropriate home for the Columbia
County Library into the direction of an “Experience
Library,” an intellectual, interactive learning center
combining visual exhibitions with interesting archi-
tecture and typical library elements.

                                                                                                                       Cerritos Library, Cerritos, CA

                                                                                                                              MAKING A SPECIAL PLACE | Civic Life | 21
Public Spaces                                           Columbia when compared to countywide student           arose in the future. Each of these sites is proxi-
In order to encourage community gathering and           generation rates.2 The HCPSS analysis did not          mately located to the downtown, but would be
interaction, this Amendment includes abundant           include projections based on this Amendment’s          somewhat separated from the additional commer-
public spaces both natural and planned. Water           recommendations regarding affordable housing           cial activity downtown. As such, each site may be
features, a sculpture park and garden, a children’s     that will be available downtown.                       suitable for new elementary school use to support
park and a dog park are a few of the concepts that                                                             new residential development downtown. HCPSS
could be included in these public spaces. These         This Amendment recommends that prior to                would need to assess suitability, given changes that
or similar features will provide an unexpected,         the submission of the first Final Development           have occurred in school facilities, or create a new
unique, spontaneous and interactive experience          Plan for downtown Columbia, HCPSS evaluate             urban prototype school and determine the costs
that encourages community engagement and                current and anticipated student generation rates       associated with the changes. ■
contributes to the quality of life in Columbia.         for the residential mix recommended by this
                                                        Amendment, including mixed-income housing,              Preliminary Draft The Columbia Downtown Master Plan,
Educational Facilities                                  to estimate student generation and public              Chapter 4 Implementation Strategies at 6 (February 27, 2006).
A complete community should incorporate design          school needs for downtown. HCPSS should
features and public facilities planning that respond    include in its analysis a comparative evaluation        Columbia Town Center Fiscal Impact Analysis Costs and
                                                                                                               Revenues Assumptions Document at 17 (September 26, 2006).
to the needs and expectations of the community as       of student generation associated with residential
it exists today and as it grows over time. Significant   unit types to be developed downtown. In this
among these objectives is the ability to meet the       regard, it is anticipated that most, if not all, new
educational needs of the community as it matures.       residential units constructed downtown under
                                                        this Amendment will be multi-family units, with
Public school students who live in downtown typi-       elevators and structured parking, which typically
cally attend Running Brook Elementary School,           generate fewer school-aged children, rather than
Wilde Lake Middle School or Wilde Lake High             townhouses or single-family units.
School. Prior student enrollment projections
provided by the Howard County Public School             If school officials determine that a new elementary
System (HCPSS) estimated that the redevelop-            school is needed to serve students generated by
ment of downtown Columbia as envisioned in this         new residential development downtown, HCPSS
Amendment would not generate the need for addi-         will be well-positioned to have the Superintendent
tional middle and high school capacity. HCPSS also      and the Board of Education seek approval to utilize
determined that the number of planned residences        the substantial excise and general tax revenues
would not create the need for a new elementary          to be generated by redevelopment downtown
school, although an addition to an existing school      to develop a new elementary school facility at
might be needed at some point.1 The previous            either the existing Clary’s Forest or Faulkner Ridge
HCPSS conclusions were based in part on the             School sites. These sites were provided to HCPSS
significantly lower student generation rates asso-       at no cost by the developer of Columbia for use as
ciated with existing housing units in downtown          school sites as the need for new school facilities

                                                                                                               The Woodlands, TX

22 | Civic Life |   MAKING A SPECIAL PLACE
                                                                Wolftrap National
                                                                      Park for the
cultural offerings, providing new spaces and
                                                                 Performing Arts,
opportunities for an active arts community and for
                                                                       Vienna, VA
public art.”       —Downtown Columbia: A Community Vision

This Amendment recommends the establishment
of a Columbia Town Center Cultural Commis-
sion whose mission will be to establish downtown
Columbia as a state-designated arts and entertain-
ment district and to generally promote Columbia as
a focal point for arts and cultural activities. It will be
a subset of the Columbia Town Center Partnership
entity described in Section 5.2 of this Amendment
with local art leaders serving in an advisory capacity
to the commission.

                                                             General Growth Properties understands and               of its size, the existing arts organizations’ develop-
                                                             appreciates the value of arts and culture in a          ment and growth has been hampered by the lack
                                                             community. This respect for the arts in Columbia        of appropriate performance and exhibition facili-
                                                             led the company to hire Lord Cultural Resources, a      ties, affordable administrative space and workspace
                                                             world leader in cultural planning services, to study    for individual artists. Additionally, Lord identified
                                                             how the revitalization and redevelopment of Town        the opportunity for a new-to-the-industry concept,
                                                             Center could enhance Columbia’s unique arts and         The Center for Small Cities. Current ideas for this
                                                             cultural environment.

                                                             Lord’s study concluded that while Columbia
                                                             has a thriving arts environment for a town

Eroica Trio
                                                                                     Jungle Gym, The Woodlands, TX

                                                                                                                     MAKING A SPECIAL PLACE | Arts and Culture | 23
entity include featuring exhibitions on small cities
on themes such as the environment, education,
creativity and social capital; hosting an interna-
tional exchange program with other “small cities;”
and including in the facility the Columbia Archives
as well as an exhibition of the past, present and
future of Columbia.

GGP will continue to work with Lord and/or
other consultants in concert with local arts and
community leaders to develop a Cultural Master
Plan to maximize existing resources downtown
as well as identify and plan for additional facilities
                                                         Columbia Pro Cantare, led by Director Frances Motyca Dawson

                                                         and opportunities to enhance arts and culture                 like the new Market Square addition to The Mall,
                                                         in Columbia. The cultural plan will be managed                will be designed and programmed to accommo-
                                                         and implemented by the Columbia Town Center                   date such activities as dance and music concerts,
                                                         Cultural Commission described above.                          thus increasing performance space capacity in
                                                         Included in this Amendment are a variety of public
                                                         spaces and new multi-use venues appropriate for               In its efforts to enhance the vibrancy of Town
                                                         public discourse, performance and arts-related                Center, this Amendment includes the renovation
                                                         activities. The Merriweather neighborhood will                of Merriweather Post Pavilion as the centerpiece of
                                                         include many natural and planned public spaces                a new cultural district in downtown Columbia. As
                                                         for small and large gatherings. Elsewhere, plazas
                                                         will provide open air sites for enjoyment of the
                                                         arts and other entertainment. Built environments,

Boy With Hawk, The Woodlands, TX                                                                                       Local Artist, Marie Robinson

24 | Arts and Culture |     MAKING A SPECIAL PLACE
                                                        identified in the report by Howard County’s 2005 Citizen Advisory Panel on
                                                        Merriweather Post Pavilion, the facility has long needed major renovation
                                                        and capital repairs in order to continue bringing quality music and enter-
                                                        tainment to the region. This Amendment recommends that Merriweather
                                                        Post Pavilion be updated to become a state-of-the-art entertainment
                                                        facility that could more effectively compete in attracting the most popular
                                                        performers, better provide a suitable venue for a greater variety of artists
                                                        and serve as a hub for other new performance venues in the cultural district
                                                        of downtown Columbia.

                                                                          In order to create a vibrant cultural district in Town
                                                                          Center, it is desirable for select arts organizations to move
                                                                          their offices and/or operations downtown. Considering
                                                                          the popularity of Toby’s Dinner Theatre, opportunities
                                                                          are being explored for a new and improved facility for the
                                                                          dinner theatre as well as a new children’s theatre within
                                                                          the cultural district. In addition, Lord Cultural Resources
                                                                          has been cultivating partnerships with established
                                                                          cultural institutions outside of Columbia with the inten-
                                                                          tion of developing a presence within Town Center and
                                                                          possibly, opening a satellite exhibition space. ■

                                                                                                                                                                       Sculpture (unnamed),
                                                                                                                                                                         The Woodlands, TX

                       Rep Stage, Howard
                       Community College

                           Merriweather Post Pavilion

                                                                                                                                          MAKING A SPECIAL PLACE | Arts and Culture | 25
Center development through flexible design
guidelines and a design review panel to ensure that
buildings, streets, and public spaces will be aesthet-
ically pleasing and contextually appropriate.”
—Downtown Columbia: A Community Vision

Howard County’s Downtown Columbia: A Commu-
nity Vision recognizes that design is a critical
dimension of any proposed development plan.
The design of buildings, open spaces and land-
scapes establishes the physical character of a place,
creating memorable places that people want to use
and return to. Such places have lasting aesthetic
and civic value. They also help provide places with
“predictable futures” – a sense of what a place will
look like over time – which, in turn, attracts people
to invest, visit and live in those places.

Downtown Columbia: A Community Vision calls for
Design Guidelines, to be considered and approved
by the County Council, as part of the General Plan
2000 amendment.

The Town Center Design Guidelines proposed
in this Amendment will ensure that what is built
in a downtown will be attractive, aesthetically
coherent, practical and of beauty and value.
Specifically, the guidelines will show how build-
ings and landscapes support and reinforce the
physical, three-dimensional intentions of the plan
and create places containing pleasing propor-
tions, scale and character that people will want to
inhabit. The guidelines also lay out the framework
for developing a community’s sense of place and its
identity and connection to the region. Design rules
(and how they are administered) are therefore very
important. The plans and concepts included in this
Amendment will be executed across a long period

                                                         The Woodlands, TX

26 | Design |      MAKING A SPECIAL PLACE
of time and in light of continuous, contempora-       ■ Amenity Space: Guidelines to ensure that
neous assessment of community needs. Markets,           amenity space within both Town Center and
public preferences and design trends will shift in      the nearby open space respects the natural
unforeseeable ways. This requires that the guide-       surroundings, enhances the site’s biodiversity
lines be flexible enough to promote creativity and       and sense of place. The guidelines also uphold
high-quality design over time.                          the community’s environmental ethic and
                                                        commitment to environmental stewardship,
The new Design Guidelines contain specific               as well as a commitment to high-quality
direction to:                                           design. All plant materials used in Town
                                                        Center and open space landscaping are to
■ District/Neighborhood Purpose and Char-               come from the “approved plant list” and be
  acter: Conformance with district land use             indigenous to the Maryland Piedmont area.
                                                                                                          Santana Row, San Jose, CA
  and density requirements, sustainability and
  transportation goals of this Amendment.
                                                      To assure compliance with this Amendment
■ Site Design: Nature of surrounding spaces,          and adherence to the Design Guidelines, this
  softscape vs. hardscape, location of bus stops,     Amendment recommends the Design Guidelines
  public amenities, lighting, special features        be implemented and oversight provided by the
  and building parcels, landscaping and how           Architectural Review Committee established
  it relates to immediate neighbors and the           under existing architectural covenants downtown.
  overall amenity space plan for its district.        It is further recommended that the Architectural
                                                      Review Committee be restructured to include
■ Street Design: Street dimensions, layout plans,
                                                      a representative of the County’s Department of
  sections showing sidewalk widths and options
                                                      Planning and Zoning to provide for consistency in
  for sustainable “green street” designs, accommo-
                                                      the interpretation and application of the Design
  dation for parking, planting, pedestrian cross-
                                                      Guidelines. ■
  ings, lighting and curb cuts and service entries.

■ Building Design: Height and setback, pedestrian-
  level zone, middle, top (including materials,
  horizontal regulating lines, skylines, fenestra-
  tion, mechanical equipment penthouses).

■ Signature Buildings: Guidelines for struc-
  tures whose location in relation to the
  public realm requires significant atten-
  tion to its design due to its location.

                                                                                                          Val D’Europe, Marne-la-Vallee, France

                                                                                                                   MAKING A SPECIAL PLACE | Design | 27

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