Study to Analyze the Future of Columbia’s Village Centers

CA Logo 4Columbia Association (CA), the Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning and the Howard County Economic Development Authority are jointly undertaking a “Columbia Market Analysis and Economic Development Services” study.

The study will evaluate the current and projected demand for development in Columbia’s village centers. The study will also include an interrelated analysis of the Dobbin Road/Snowden River Parkway/former General Electric manufacturing area. Work will begin this month and will be completed by spring 2014.

“We are keen to understand the market potential for each village center and the relationship of the centers to other competing commercial areas,” said Jane Dembner, CA’s director of community building and sustainability. “This knowledge base is key to defining strategies and tools that can help revitalize and reposition the village centers, particularly some of the older centers.”

The study will be conducted by Retail and Development Strategies LLC (RDS), and led by its managing principal, Tom Moriarity. The RDS consulting team includes WTL+a, Folan Consulting and Gibbs Planning Group.

Moriarity was CA’s first speaker in CA’s successful Community Building Speakers Series, and addressed the community on “Minding the Store: Retail Realities in Commercial Centers.” Moriarity has more than 30 years of experience in mixed-use development, commercial area management, downtown revitalization strategies, retail programming and historic preservation. He has a special focus on redevelopment/revitalization of commercial districts.

”The village centers are a key concept of Columbia, and we are pleased to partner with Howard County government on this important work,” Dembner said. “We also look forward to engaging with the community.”

The first of three public meetings on the study will be held on Thursday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m., at The Hawthorn Center, 6175 Sunny Spring in west Columbia. The meeting will introduce the consultant team, provide an overview of the project, explain the study process and objectives, and include time for discussion with the meeting’s participants. Registration is encouraged but not required via

This study is part of a continued focus on Columbia’s village centers. In 2009, the Howard County Council adopted new regulations to promote revitalization of Columbia’s village centers. And during the development of the Howard County General PlanHoward, CA worked with the county to include a recommendation in the plan for a village center market study.

About Columbia Association

Columbia Association (CA) is a nonprofit service corporation that manages Columbia, MD, a planned community that is home to approximately 100,000 people and several thousand businesses. Additional information about CA is available at


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Filed under Columbia Association Press Releases, Columbia News, Columbia's Villages, Community Partnerships, Downtown Columbia & Planning

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