Ground Up

The Daily Record's real estate blog

Howard Hughes Corp. celebrates Merriweather District groundbreaking


The Merriweather District planned for downtown Columbia. (Howard Hughes Corp.)

Howard Hughes Corp. celebrated the ceremonial start of construction on the Merriweather District in downtown Columbia with the groundbreaking for an office building set to be cybersecurity firm Tenable’s headquarters.

The Merriweather District is a high-density, mixed-use neighborhood that’s part of the ongoing redevelopment of downtown Columbia. Additional projects involved in the overhaul include the Lakefront and Central District neighborhoods.

“The Merriweather District represents the future of Maryland’s tech evolution, and as the future home of Tenable’s new headquarters, it also means hundreds of new jobs right here in Columbia,” Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement.

In addition to the 12-story, 325,000-square-foot building that broke ground on Monday, the Merriweather District will include the Class A office buildings One and Two Merriweather. Companies including Tenanble, MedStar Health, and Pearson have already signed on to locate in the district.

The overhaul of downtown Columbia will include 14 million square feet of development including office space, residential units and hotel rooms. Redevelopment of this area of Columbia dates back to 2010 when the county government approved the Downtown Columbia Plan.

Columbia has positioned itself to take advantage of a trend in suburban building aimed at creating live, work and play environments to compete with a growing demand from younger employees for more urban settings. Columbia has been one of the Baltimore metro area’s strongest office submarkets.

In the first quarter of this year, according to a report from Newmark Knight Frank, the area posted an overall vacancy rate of 11 percent with Class A asking rents at $26.76 per square foot. That compares to a 12.7 percent vacancy rate and Class A asking rents of $25.16 for the entire metro area.

“We are thrilled to be able to continue the work started by visionary developer James Rouse in creating a planned city founded on the values of respect for people and for land,” said David R. Weinreb, CEO of The Howard Hughes Corp. “As a company, we are committed to developing cities and neighborhoods in a way that allows people to live better lives while simultaneously building for the future.”

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