Little Patuxent Square mixed-use development opens in downtown Columbia

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Little Patuxent Square building, there was wine, food and distinguished guests such as Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford and Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman. The real attraction, however, was the room itself.

Held on the ninth floor of the new downtown Columbia building, the opening reception on May 24 provided guests with a panoramic view in a bright, open office space that featured windows all around.


"To everyone who was part of this ... thank you for turning it into something absolutely spectacular," Howard County Councilwoman Mary Kay Sigaty told the crowd of just over 120. "You set a standard for what we need to be doing."

Howard Hughes Corp. downtown Columbia's master developer, announced the $38.8 million acquisition of two office buildings in the up-and-coming downtown Wednesday morning.

The $80 million mixed-use development sits on more than an acre of land near Lake Kittamaqundi, the Mall of Columbia and Whole Foods. It offers 158,000 square feet of office space and 10,000 square feet of retail space. Five levels of below-grade parking will offer 740 spaces. The building also includes160 apartments with several amenities including a rooftop pool and a 6,000-square-foot open-air courtyard featuring a putting green and fire pit.

"It really has been a great project," said Kingdon Gould III, a Little Patuxent Square partner with his father, Kingdon Gould Jr. "Mixed-use ones are hard. They're complicated and ... they got it built."

David Costello, president of Costello Construction, purchased the property for $3.5 million in 2012. Based in Columbia, Costello Construction has been involved with projects at Merriweather Post Pavilion, Elkridge Library and 50+ Center and the Silver Spring Library.

Little Patuxent Square is the first concrete-frame office building in Columbia and its facade features a curtain-wall system with metal wall panels and natural stone. A curtain-wall system is an outer covering of a building that is non-structural, allowing it to be made of a lightweight material. By using glass as a curtain wall, natural light can infiltrate further into the building, as was obvious to everyone in attendance at the ribbon-cutting.

The building features a green roof partially covered with plants and the parking garage offers charging stations and a special area for Zipcars.

When Columbia's lead architect and visionary Jim Rouse approached Howard County officials with his company's plan in 1964, Rouse envisioned a bus system so effective it would "virtually eliminate the need for a second car."

"There is a lot of energy going on in Columbia with the 50th anniversary coming up and I can't think of a better way to celebrate than with the Little Patuxent opening up," Kittleman said. "It is part of the vibrant renewal and rebirth of Columbia."

The primary office space tenant is Optum; Howard Bank will also open a location at the site.


Floor plans for the Lakehouse apartments offer one-, two- and three-bedroom options as well as studio apartments in the 12-story building.

Before Costello purchased the property from a Florida-based company, it sat undeveloped as plans for a 22-story condominium tower at the site were met with community resistance since 2005.

Rutherford, a Columbia resident, called the project "exciting" for not just the county, but for the whole state.

"This is a good example of the economic development and our commitment, the state commitment and the Hogan administration's commitment, to making the state more business friendly," Rutherford said "It makes this a great place to live, work and actually retire."

A new $41 million office building by Howard Hughes Corp, Columbia's master developer, is slated to open in the fall of next year as the county chases a vision to redevelop the town into an urban, mixed-used center and integrate retail and office to make downtown Columbia a major job center.

He joked with the crowd that with his children grown, he was looking to downsize, though he was fighting a losing battle with his wife.

"We've been working every year to try to make it easier for people to stay in the state and close to their families," Rutherford said. "I'm working on my wife to sell our house and move to an apartment or condo."


This story has been updated.