The long-awaited groundbreaking for the redevelopment of the Wilde Lake Village Center took place Wednesday morning, to the delight of the 80 or so who attended the ceremony.
"This was a marathon, it wasn't a sprint," said Geoff Glazer, vice president at Kimco Realty, the developer for the project.
"But we are in the final stretch," he said.
The complete overhaul of Columbia's first village center includes a five-story, approximately 250-unit apartment complex, the demolition of the Giant Food building, the renovation of the remaining village center buildings, and the construction of a CVS pharmacy, which could replace the Crown gas station by as early as fall 2014.
However, the first dirt to be moved on the project will be for David's Natural Market, which will move into a new building located on the site previously occupied by Produce Galore.
On hand for the ceremony was Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, who was in his first term of office when the project began.
"I'm really excited that after a lot of community discussion we have a plan, that I think is a tremendous plan, to redevelop, reinvigorate, reinvest in the historic Wilde Lake Village Center," Ulman said.