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Downtown Columbia

Howard County, Maryland

Howard County developed a general plan to guide future development in the county that envisages an urban city center around the existing Columbia mall. The goal is to create a vibrant, inclusive, sustainable community, while replacing much of the existing surface parking and creating walkable streets through the urban center. The development will include 6,244 high-density residential units, a significant number of which will be affordable, 4,300,000 sf of office space, 125,000 sf of retail space and 640 hotel keys. The development will also include a rebuilt Merriweather pavilion, a new library, fire station, transit center, performing arts center, traffic improvements and a school. Howard County authorized $90,000,000 of bonds for the first phase of development to fund the construction of parking facilities, roads, intersections, parks, plazas, and utilities. The bonds are secured by real property tax increment revenues with a backup special tax to ensure there are sufficient revenues to repay the bonds. The county will have no liability for the repayment of the bonds other than the pledge of the incremental real property taxes.