BBJ: Howard Hughes Corp. halts some construction — but not in Downtown Columbia

Howard Hughes Corp.’s redevelopment of Downtown Columbia will soldier on amid the COVID-19 pandemic, even as the Dallas-based firm has put a halt on other construction and postponed plans related to a restructuring of the company.

Greg Fitchitt, president of the Columbia region for Howard Hughes, confirmed in an email Friday that construction activities are “mostly continuing” at the $5 billion redevelopment of the areas around the Mall in Columbia and Merriweather Post Pavilion.

The developer’s employees are working from home, with the exception of those “deemed essential to maintain the safety and property management functions for businesses that remain open.”

Fitchitt said the company’s local actions comply with Gov. Larry Hogan’s March 23 order that all of Maryland’s non-essential businesses close. Commercial facilities, which includes residential and commercial construction, as well as building and property maintenance, were deemed essential under the governor’s directive.

“We are focused on safety and preservation in the present, while also keeping a hopeful eye towards the future,” Fitchitt said in a statement. “While no one knows how long this challenging time will last, we are confident that we will emerge strong, and that we will continue delivering on the vision for Downtown Columbia as the third city in the Baltimore-Washington corridor.”

A hotel is also part of Howard Hughes’ plan for the new Merriweather District in Downtown Columbia. Most recently, the developer announced two eateries native to Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood as the next concepts to join the upcoming residential, retail and office hub.

“Like all businesses in Maryland, we at [Howard Hughes Corp.] in Columbia are diligently monitoring the situation closely,” Fitchitt said. “We are working to protect our employees, our community, and business. We are encouraged by the recent actions taken at both the state and federal level, and are hopeful that those measures will help sustain the businesses most challenged by the pandemic.”

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Source: Baltimore Business Journal