"This is a huge opportunity for downtown Columbia," Howard Hughes' Senior Vice President of Development John DeWolf said in news release. "The addition of another quality restaurant will just add to the vibrancy we are creating on the lakefront and in downtown altogether."
The Foreman Wolf Restaurant Group, which operates Baltimore restaurants including Charleston, Petit Louis Bistro, Pazo, Cinghiale and Johnny's, signed a 10-year lease with the corporation and will occupy the 6,943-square-feet location that previously held the Red Pearl restaurant. Red Pearl closed last fall.
With the opening of the new restaurant, Howard Countians will get "something that they've been consistently able to find in our Baltimore restaurants," Foreman said.
"That's a commitment to beautiful food, beautiful spaces and beautiful service," he said. "Something that makes you feel comfortable and also transports you. I think that's why we have such loyalty from diners, and one of the reasons why we were so motivated to so something down there."
The restaurant's concept, while already determined, will be announced at a later date, Foreman said. The restaurant will likely open "before the year is over," he said. It will be the sixth location for the restaurant group, which also operates BIN 604 Wine Sellers and BIN 201 Wine Sellers in Baltimore and Annapolis.
Foreman said he expects the restaurant will bring 60-70 new jobs to the area.
"Tony Foreman and Cindy Wolf operate some of the premier restaurants in Baltimore," Howard County Executive Ken Ulman said in the release sent out by Howard Hughes. "They have built their brand on wonderful dining experiences for their customers."
Ulman said he was excited the group has chosen to expand into Howard County, which is a sign the planned revitalization for the downtown Columbia area is "gaining momentum."
Foreman said he and Wolf knew Ulman as a client, who suggested the group look into establishing a Howard County presence.
In a statement, Wolf, too, said she was excited about moving into Columbia, and was looking forward to working with local county farmers. Foreman said the county has been a "great source market" for diners at the group's Baltimore restaurants, and that the lakefront — "the center of all things Howard County" — is the perfect new home for the group.
"It's a beautiful spot," he said. "The natural setting is terrific."
The announcement is the latest in redevelopment and revitalization efforts in downtown Columbia. Clyde's of Columbia re-opened in April after 13 weeks and $5 million in renovations which expanded the dining space. Whole Foods Market is also set to open nearby in the former Rouse Co. building in 2014.