As a further sign of its investment in the revitalization of Columbia's town center, the Howard Hughes Corp. last week acquired the former Ryland Group headquarters, a nine-story office building next to The Mall in Columbia and close to land where Howard Hughes plans to build a $100 million apartment and retail complex.
The property known as 70 Corporate Center opened in 1992 at Little Patuxtent and Broken Land parkways and is one of Columbia's largest office buildings, with nearly 170,000 square feet of space. It has been a multitenant office building since Ryland, a national home builder that was founded in Maryland, moved its headquarters to California in 1999.
Howard Hughes, which succeeded the Rouse Co. and General Growth Properties as the master developer of downtown Columbia, purchased the building Aug. 15 from Cigna and has hired Jones Lang LaSalle to lease it.
The acquisition comes less than a month after Howard Hughes announced plans to redevelop another former corporate headquarters it owns, the 1974 Rouse Co. building, as a mixed-use complex with a Whole Foods Market for an anchor. A sale price has not been disclosed for 70 Corporate Center.
"The purchase of 70 Corporate Center helps solidify our company's commitment to downtown Columbia and its future redevelopment," said John DeWolf, senior vice president of development for Howard Hughes. "This well-located, notable office building serves as a strong addition to our holdings."
Howard Hughes and two partners plan to start construction by year's end on a 380-unit apartment and retail project called the Metropolitan Downtown Columbia on land near 70 Corporate Center. DeWolf said Howard Hughes is hoping to lease space on the first level of 70 Corporate Center to a full-service restaurant and possibly a wine bar.
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