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Digging into the Details of Lakefront North

Last week, Howard Hughes Corporation revealed plans that the next phase of Downtown Columbia revitalization will be a $325 million investment into rejuvenating Columbia's Lakefront, including a new neighborhood dubbed Lakefront North. Over the past week, the Howard Hughes Corporation and their design team hosted a pre-submission community meeting on February 8 and a design advisory panel presentation on February 9 that brought their plans for Lakefront North into focus. Presentation slides and recordings of these meetings with tons more information and renderings can be found on these linked pages.

Rendering from 2/9 DAP presentation. https://www.howardcountymd.gov/boards-commissions/design-advisory-panel

Here's how Howard Hughes's press release describes the neighborhood:

Future development envisioned for [Lakefront North] includes three new residential buildings offering a total of 675 units plus supporting street retail, better pedestrian and cycling connections, and enhanced green spaces to transform the current surface parking lot at the north end of the Lakefront District. The high-rise apartments will be constructed atop an underground parking structure and will be surrounded by outdoor amenity areas, including a promenade connecting to the areas bordering Lake Kittamaqundi as well as a public square. Neighborhood retail will be located on the ground level of the residences. As part of the project, Wincopin Circle will be extended and reconfigured as a pedestrian-oriented street connecting activities throughout the Lakefront District. Phase 1 of the Lakefront North development is anticipated to be an investment in excess of $280 million over the course of the next several years.

The Location

Lakefront North will be located on the ~10 acre site behind Little Patuxent Parkway's Exxon Station that currently contains a large surface parking lot and location where the now-demolished 5565 Sterrett Place office building once stood. Despite its name, Lakefront North contains no direct frontage on Lake Kittamaqundi.

Markup of Google Map Image
Parking lot where Lakefront North will be located. Photo by me from top floor of Merriweather Lakehouse.

The Buildings

The first phase of the Lakefront North development will include 3 residential buildings that contain a combined total of 675 units. 10% of these units (~68) will be affordable housing units for low and moderate income households interspersed amongst the buildings. Two of the buildings will have street-level retail. A prime retail space for a large restaurant with lots of space for sidewalk seating is located in Parcel D2 across from the Neighborhood Square.


There will be 175 apartments in Parcel A, 200 apartments in Parcel B, and 300 apartments in Parcel D2. A future phase will include condominiums.


Lakefront North Site Plan, DAP Presentation

In 2019, Howard Hughes announced plans to build a signature 10-story glass office building with ground-floor retail at this location. But citing changing market conditions, Howard Hughes is now shifting to building residential buildings instead. Howard Hughes recently announced plans to invest $10 million in renovations and streetscape improvements to its existing portfolio of office buildings that make up "Corporate Row" on Little Patuxent Parkway between Symphony Woods and The Mall in Columbia.


Amenities

Wincopin Street will be extended from Whole Foods into Lakefront North and be prioritized as a pedestrian-oriented street designed to complete street standards featuring wide sidewalks, landscaping, a multi-use path, and benches as public art pieces. It will be closable for pedestrian-only events.


A Neighborhood Square will anchor Wincopin Street and serve as a community gathering space. This public park will connect to a tree-lined promenade leading towards Little Patuxent Parkway and the Mall in Columbia (though the mall side of Little Patuxents lacks pedestrian infrastructure so until that is added, this won't provide a viable way to walk to the Mall). Howard Hughes also hopes to connect the Neighborhood Square to the Lake-to-Lake-to-Lake trail that leads to Lake Kittamaqundi and the rest of Columbia's extension pathway network, but this will require coordination with the Columbia Association as the stream/marsh area where CA recently completed stream restoration work separates the Lakefront North area from the trail.


A second public park - Wincopin Green - will be completed in phases. Aspects of the park will be part of Phase 1, but the park will not be finished until a subsequent phase of Howard Hughes's Lakefront development. Ultimately, this park will included an integrated play-area and dog park.



DAP Presentation slide describing public amenity spaces

Broader Context

Lakefront North is part of the Downtown Columbia Plan for the revitalization and redevelopment of Downtown Columbia, which governs land-use, design, transportation, housing, environmental, and the timeline. The ambitious 30 year plan includes adding 14 million square feet of new downtown development including 5,500 market-rate residential units and 900 units of affordable housing, for a total of 6,400 new housing units. Thus far, ~1,200 units have been built (817 units at the Mall in Columbia [Metropolitan, m.flats, and Ten.M] and 382 units at Juniper in The Merriweater District). Marlow, the New Cultural Center, and phase 1 of Lakefront North will add ~1,300 more units. So even after these projects are completed, there is still almost 4,000 units remaining. The Lakefront North design, site plan, and architecture are currently going through the land development review process through Howard County's Department of Planning and Zoning.

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2 Comments


Better yet, I think at least 20% of units should be affordable allowing for larger families affordable needs. This, more than likely 2 bedroom number of apartment, makes it almost impossible to show truth of measurable support of affordable housing in this segment of DT housing construction/development. Studies of slavery‘s development and implementation in this Country proves by plantation owners desire a birth of large slave families, so America is stuck with that culture. Again, DT must have a larger number of 3 bedroom affordable housing units.

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Brian England
Brian England
Feb 13, 2022

Thanks Jeremy you do a great job!

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