Extraordinary Places

Strategic Partnerships, Residential, Land Sales, Condos, Retail, Office, MPC, Mixed-Use, Multi-Family


Downtown Columbia is located at the center of Columbia, MD, one of the first master planned communities in the U.S. founded by legendary developer James W. Rouse in 1967. Conveniently located between Washington, DC, and Baltimore, Columbia is comprised of 14,000 acres including ten completed residential villages and a deep pipeline of commercial development opportunities within its Downtown.

Columbia continues to attract highly educated residents, with easy access to leading public and private employers and some of the best public schools in the country. Premier homebuilders and a compelling environment have also led to a growing population in the area. Located in Howard County, Columbia is in one of the nation’s most affluent regions, with a median household income of over $100,000 and population growth above 34% over the past decade.


The transformation of the Merriweather District into a burgeoning business district and walkable, urban core will include 2,300 residences, a 250-room hotel, over 1.5 million square feet of office space, and 314,000 square feet of street retail with a central park. Environmental enhancements, such as reforestation and stream restoration, are already under way. Uniquely situated in an environment of natural beauty with a focus on a mixed-use, urban revitalization, the Merriweather District is set to become a prime example of Columbia founder James Rouse’s vision of “A City in a Garden.”

Highlights of new development include the adaptive reuse of the iconic former Rouse Building into a Whole Foods Market, The Metropolitan, Downtown Columbia’s first multi-family project, and the construction of a collection of Class-A mixed-use office buildings. Also underway is the major renovation and expansion of Merriweather Post Pavilion, cited by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the best outdoor concert venues in the nation. The entertainment venue will serve as the catalyst for the creation of an arts and culture hub in the region. A performing arts center and artist studios, a world class library and other cultural institutions are planned.


Embracing art and culture as an integral part of dynamic placemaking, The Howard Hughes Corporation launched OPUS, a festival of art, music and technology, in 2017 as a fitting 50th Anniversary celebration. The festival will continue to strengthen Downtown Columbia as a vibrant cultural destination.

At full buildout, the redevelopment of Downtown Columbia will include three new and reconfigured neighborhoods – Merriweather District, Lakefront District and Central District featuring more than 14 million square feet of mixed-use development comprised of 4.3 million square feet of commercial office space, 1.25 million square feet of street retail, 6,244 residential units and 640 hotel rooms cultural as well as public uses including public parks, trails and more.


The underdeveloped core of Columbia became the subject of an extensive five-year process that culminated with the passage by the Howard County government of the Downtown Columbia Plan in 2010, a guide to creating a vital area in which residents can live, shop, work, entertain, exercise, and enjoy cultural opportunities in an enriched natural setting.