Development Process


When developer James Rouse envisioned Columbia as a community where residents could live in economic, ethnic, religious and social parity, he also envisioned that there would be a ‘real city’ at its core. After all, Columbia became an internationally-recognized model for planned communities, designed to eliminate suburban sprawl.

Beginning in 2005 with a community charrette, and then continuing for five years with more than 100 public meetings to gather community input, the Downtown Columbia Plan legislation passed unanimously in 2010. This legislation provides for the ‘real city’ core that Rouse envisioned.



Since the passing of the Downtown Columbia Plan in 2010, developers have been making great strides in activating that plan. Later that year, The Howard Hughes Corporation took over the role of master developer and became the driving force for redevelopment.

Accomplishments to date include:

  • February 2010 – Downtown Columbia Plan approved
  • November 2010 – The Howard Hughes Corporation becomes Master Developer
  • August 2012 – 70 Columbia Corporate Center purchased
  • May 2013 – Clyde’s Renovation completed
  • January 2014 – Petit Louis opens
  • August 2014 – Rouse Building Renovation/Whole Foods completed
  • August 2014 – The Mall in Columbia expansion
  • December 2014 – Haven on the Lake opens
  • December 2014 – The Metropolitan opens
  • December 2014 – 10-60 Columbia Corporate Center purchased
  • August 2015 – Merriweather Post Pavilion begins renovations
  • November 2016 – TIF legislation approved
  • November 2016 – Merriweather Post Pavilion ownership transferred to Downtown Columbia Arts and Culture Commission
  • January 2017 – One Merriweather opens
  • April 2017 – The Chrysalis performing arts venue completed
  • October 2017 – m.flats opens
  • November 2017 – Two Merriweather opens
  • February 2018 – TEN.M opens

Under Construction are:

  • Merriweather Post Pavilion renovations
  • Multi-use pathways

Despite progress made to date, only 10% of the Downtown Columbia Plan has been completed.