Howard Hughes Investing $325M in Downtown Columbia, Md.

The first project will be a $45.8 million medical office building


The Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC) plans to invest $325 million in the Lakefront District in Downtown Columbia, Md., the firm announced. 

HHC serves as the master plan developer of the Lakefront District, an area which at full buildout will consist of up to 2 million square feet of development including retail and housing, connected by extensive green spaces and outdoor gathering places. 

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The first aspect of the investment will be a $45.8 million, 86,000-square-foot South Lake medical office building, which is under development along Lake Kittamaqundi and adjacent to a Whole Foods Market.

“The existing supply of medical office space in this market is almost 100 percent occupied despite much of the space being outdated and in Class B condition,” Greg Fitchitt, president of the Columbia region at HHC, told Commercial Observer. “The Lakefront redevelopment with its health and wellness positioning offers a natural landscape and a well-designed offering for this underserved market.”

Orthopedic Associates of Central Maryland has signed on to occupy nearly 20 percent of the new four-story building, and plans to relocate its office from 10710 Charter Drive in Columbia when the building is completed in early 2024.

HHC enlisted Studio Red Architects to focus on the environmental impact of the medical component. The building features a boardwalk-style public terrace that offers sweeping views of the lake, and space for health and fitness activities.

“With a focus on environmental impact and the health of future occupants, this building will offer a boardwalk-style public terrace with sweeping views of Lake Kittamaqundi, green space as well as ample space for exercise classes and other health and fitness activities,” Fitchitt said.  

Other health care businesses located in Downtown Columbia include MedStar Health’s headquarters, Healthcare Management Solutions, Welldoc and Johns HopkinsHoward County General Hospital.

The investment into Downtown Columbia’s Lakefront District follows HHC’s recently announced plans to commit $10 million on the renovation of Central District’s Corporate Row office portfolio. 

No further investment details of the Lakefront District were disclosed.

The Savills team of George Santos, senior managing director; Ryan Miller, corporate managing director; and Mike Barbalace, assistant director, represented Orthopedic Associates of Central Maryland in the deal.

Requests for comment from Orthopedic Associates of Central Maryland were not immediately returned. 

Keith Loria can be reached at