Commercial development is resuming in Columbia's Town Center with the construction of the nine-story Ryland Building, which will anchor the corner of Little Patuxent and Broken Land parkways.
The 168,000-square-foot building is being developed by the Rouse Co. as part of its master plan to expand commerce around the Columbia Mall.
Development of the area started with the mall in the 1960s before spreading to the front of Lake Kittamaqundi. The Ryland Building opens up in an area along Broken Land Parkway, which will be expanded from Little Patuxent Parkway to the Village of Wilde Lake, said Frank W. Ziegler, development director for Rouse, which will lease the new building to Ryland.
"Additional building sites will be located along Broken Land Parkway," Ziegler said. "The Ryland site is a very prominent location, probably one of our best sites."
Ryland, one of the nation's largest homebuilders, will lease 130,000 square feet of office space in the new building for its new corporate headquarters. Ziegler said he doesn't anticipate any problems leasing the remaining 38,000 feet to other tenants.
"Our leasing portfolio for new office buildings is very active right now," he said. "We feel very optimistic that once this building gets farther along and you see what it's going to look like -- when you can kick the tires -- you're going to see a lot of interest in this building."
The general contractor, Omni Construction Inc. of Bethesda, currently is building the structure's L-shaped frame. Plans call for a bluish-green reflective glass structure with a lobby of wood paneling, marble and polished limestone.
Michael S. Campbell, the senior design manager at Rouse, said his company and Rouse were looking to design a structure that (( had "a dramatic presence." The building was designed by the Washington, D.C., architectural firm of Cooper, Gary & Associates.
The building will have an adjacent parking garage with more than 670 spaces.
Ryland, which began operating from 1,300 square feet of office space in the late 1960s, now leases four Rouse-owned buildings, including a structure along the lakefront, said Vaika A. Talts, a Ryland spokeswoman. Talts said 450 company employees will move from those buildings to their new location next April, including Roger W. Schipke, chief executive officer of the Ryland Group, and Robert J. Gaw, president of Ryland Mortgage.
"We've simply outgrown the space we have now," she said.
Ziegler said his company decided to build more space than Ryland will use when it occupies the building because it wanted to give the homebuilder more room to grow in the future.
He declined to disclose the cost of construction.
Ziegler said Rouse is trying to bring other major companies to anchor future locations along Broken Land, which divides the commercial area from residential.
"We're pursuing the large corporate users like the Rylands for future development and growth in our portfolio," he said.