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Developers unveil plan for $65M Maryland complex

A longtime Maryland native and real estate developer recently announced his plan to begin construction on a new project in Columbia, which would turn a vacant lot into a $65 million complex including offices, apartments and retail space. He and his partner, another area developer, hope to use the project as a springboard for further development in the town's waterfront area and the eventual revitalization of the Columbia Town Center.

The Commercial real estate developer purchased the lot in 2012 for $3.5 after an out-of-state firmed dropped plans for a 22-story residential building. Community members had objected to that project, citing concerns that the height of the structure would negatively affect Columbia and move away from its otherwise mid- and low-rise buildings. The new project would be smaller but still ambitious in scale; its developer hopes to fill the nine-story structure with 160 apartments, 12,000 square feet of retailers and 130,000 square feet of office space. He said he was aware of citizens' objections to the earlier project and agreed with their contentions, calling the idea of a 22-story building in downtown Columbia "overbearing."

Still, the developer acknowledged that his building will mark a departure for the town, representing the first major construction project downtown Columbia has seen in over a decade. He said he hopes the project will start a trend toward increasing urbanization that will "reshape Columbia," a goal he asserts many citizens share.

Public reaction to news of the project has been mixed. While community members say they are glad to fill the lot with a shorter building that will not dominate Columbia's skyline, many citizens are concerned that the developers have yet to present appropriately thorough plans. Regulators could delay the project for up to a year in order to fully review its plans.

The development of Commercial real estate is typically a complex process. Developers must deal with regulations, public reaction and a variety of legal issues. Consulting with an attorney specializing in business and commercial litigation can make this endeavor significantly easier.

Baltimore Sun, "New development plans revealed for prime Columbia site" Steve Kilar, Jun. 24, 2013

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