Columbia chief is quitting April 7

Ex-Rouse official to replace Miller

March 29, 2006|By LAURA CADIZ | LAURA CADIZ,SUN REPORTER

Dennis W. Miller is stepping down after three years as the general manager and prime mover for Columbia.

During his tenure, Miller served both the Rouse Co., which started the planned community, and General Growth Properties Inc. of Chicago, the company that bought Rouse in 2004.

Miller, 40, will be replaced by Douglas M. Godine, who was a Rouse senior vice president for almost 20 years before leaving to start his own consulting business, General Growth Properties announced yesterday.

Miller said yesterday that he submitted his resignation Friday - with his last day to be April 7 - and wants to travel and spend time with his family, including his newborn son.

"It's time for me to take the next step," said Miller, who plans to stay in Columbia. "I'll do something in the real estate industry, somewhere in the Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Annapolis area."

David Keating, a General Growth spokesman, said Miller has been "very instrumental [in Columbia] in moving things forward."

"Certainly, we're disappointed [he's leaving]," Keating said. "We wish him all the best and certainly hated to see him go."

Godine, who could not be reached for comment yesterday, oversaw Rouse's leasing, marketing and land sales in Columbia from 1961 to 1978.

In a statement, Godine said: "I could not pass up the opportunity to work once again on the Columbia project. Columbia is a great place to live and work, but it hasn't yet reached its full potential. I'm looking forward to working with the GGP team and Howard County."

Miller called Godine "a good guy."

"I believe Columbia will be in very good hands," Miller said. "And I look forward to it; I look forward to Columbia being developed."

For six years, Miller worked first for the Rouse Co., which built Columbia, and then for General Growth Properties Inc.

Miller previously worked as a commercial and real estate banker in Washington, Northern Virginia and Baltimore markets for 15 years.

Miller became a public figure in Columbia soon after he stepped into his role as Rouse's general manager for the planned community.

In 2003, he began showcasing Rouse's plan to build homes on a 51.7-acre property adjacent to the Merriweather Post Pavilion in downtown Columbia.

That plan drew strong criticism from people who claimed it lacked details and public input. Miller then presented a revised plan last spring at a meeting that drew 500 people. He told the meeting that the plan would reinvigorate Columbia's Town Center with pedestrian walkways, new businesses and homes.

Pieces of that plan have since morphed into a development plan that Howard County has been creating for downtown Columbia after it held a weeklong charrette in October, in which community members brainstormed on what they would like to see developed in Town Center.

Miller said he's proud of his team's efforts in working on redeveloping Town Center and fostering a dialogue with the community and county.

Miller has lived in Columbia for 14 years and doesn't plan to move. He is married with a 13-year-old daughter and 2-month-old son.

"I sure will be a resident, and I look forward to it," he said. "I really believe that it's going to be a wonderful Town Center, and the downtown is going to be the thing that the community has asked for, that the elected officials have asked for and that we as developers are seeking."

laura.cadiz@baltsun.com

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