Howard County Executive Ken Ulman and Mark Thompson, director of downtown development, joined Sheilah Kast on WYPR's "Maryland Morning" on Monday to discuss the future redevelopment of downtown Columbia.
Among the topics discussed were the $100 million apartment complex Metropolitan Downtown Columbia, which developers broke ground on earlier this month, Whole Foods coming to the former Rouse Company headquarters, and the newly proposed plans for the redevelopment of Symphony Woods Park.
In the interview, Ulman told Kast that the master plan does not aim to change the community's identity.
"What we are talking about is turning the downtown, Town Center, into a real downtown. Not changing the feel of Columbia as a whole, but fulfilling Jim Rouse's original vision," Ulman said on the radio program. "I think it's the inevitable evolution which communities need to embrace."
Ulman went on to say he's heard residents talk about maintaining the values while reinvesting in the community.
"They really want a downtown," Ulman said.
Mark Thompson, the director of downtown development, said the plan boils down to economic sustainability, environmental sustainability and social sustainability.
Thompson added that housing is in demand in downtown Columbia.
"We probably have the first or second-best regional mall in the state. We have about 1.5 million sq. ft of office space, but we really need residential. We need this to become a 24-hour community," he said.