Downtown Columbia Closes the Year with 3 New Leases

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A trio of tenants have inked leases at The Howard Hughes Corporation’s Downtown Columbia, Md., portfolio this month, bringing the total amount of office space leased in 2022 to 230,000 square feet.

Venture X, a coworking concept, signed for 22,000 square feet within 60 Corporate Center beginning in July 2023; tech developer Meta Materials Inc. inked 11,000 square feet at 30 Corporate Center beginning in May 2023; and Ellie Mental Health, a mental health provider took 3,800 square feet within One Mall North and will open in April 2023. 

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“Employers are seeking not only flexible, first-class office space, but also the outstanding quality-of-life Downtown Columbia provides for their workforce,” Greg Fitchitt, president of the Columbia region for The Howard Hughes Corporation, told Commercial Observer. “We have amazing outdoor spaces, walkability, convenient access and parking, plus all the amenities of urban living—great retail, restaurants, entertainment and culture. Downtown Columbia has what employers are looking for to attract and retain the region’s top talent.”

Downtown Columbia is in the midst of a $5 billion, 30-year redevelopment that includes three neighborhoods: Lakefront District, Merriweather District and Central District. To date, the Howard Hughes Corporation has added 3 million square feet of new office, retail, housing, community gathering spaces and restaurant offerings. When complete, Downtown Columbia will include 14 million square feet of new mixed-use development on 391 acres of land.   

Both Venture X and Meta Materials will be new additions to the office space on Little Patuxent Parkway, overlooking Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods, Merriweather Post Pavilion, and Merriweather District. 

Howard Hughes is driving a $10 million renovation for this area, adding fitness centers, conferencing spaces and tenant lounges.

“The investment is creating connective pathways between all seven buildings with new landscaping, paving, and lighting, plus two central amenity hubs accessible to all current and future tenants,” Fitchitt said. “It includes aesthetic upgrades to the lobbies and exterior dwell spaces with intimate seating areas and walking paths, all increasing the area’s connectivity and leading to the central gathering place of Chef Chad Gauss’s Food Market right here in Downtown Columbia.”

Downtown Columbia offers access to major roadways, strong proximity to Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, and was recently ranked by WalletHub as the No. 1 best city to find a job.

“Our location between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore positions the city as an ideal place for some of the country’s fastest-growing industries, including government, government contracting, cybersecurity, tech consulting and healthcare,” Fitchitt said. “When you add urban walkability, vibrancy and amenities to a city long renowned for its premier quality of life, it’s no surprise that employers continue to choose to locate their businesses here.”

The Howard Hughes Corporation is 12 years into the 30-year, $5 billion redevelopment of Downtown Columbia.

“The next several years will be a continuation of strong growth across office, retail, residential, and public spaces throughout the city, particularly in the Lakefront District,” Fitchitt said. “The Lakefront has always been the heart and soul of Downtown Columbia, since the days of our founder James Rouse. With the groundbreaking of 10285 Lakefront, medical office building, the upcoming opening of The Collective and the work we have started on the north end of the Lakefront District, the revitalization of the Lakefront has begun.” 

Keith Loria can be reached at Kloria@commercialobserver.com.