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The Baltimore Sun

The county's effort to replace obsolete county office space has a long history:

November 1999 -- County Executive James N. Robey dumped plans to renovate the George Howard Building, opting instead to pay $3.2 million for 27 acres of wooded land on Rogers Ave. near U.S. 40 as part of a plan to consolidate government agencies in new buildings.

August 2000 -- Robey moved to begin selling surplus properties to help raise money for the new campus.

March 2002 -- A design for two curved-glass, brick-and-stone buildings for the new campus on the Rogers Ave. site is unveiled.

2002-2006 -- Recession, heavy demands for new schools, the need for a new circuit courthouse, and the refusal of the county's legislators to approve his request for an increase in the real estate transfer tax forced Robey to postpone the project for lack of funding.

July 2006 -- Robey proposed a new plan -- a privately financed lease-purchase deal under which Corporate Office Properties Trust, the county's biggest office developer, would design and build the new complex, including a county office building, courthouse, two parking garages and a renovated George Howard Building on the current government site, and lease the facilities to county government. That project started with a $185 million price tag, but it has risen to $260 million.

October 2007 -- County Executive Ken Ulman announces plans to buy 15,000 square feet of office space in a new Oakland Mills Village Center building, as part of a revised plan to divide the campus project into two phases, including a smaller, less expensive county office building. The George Howard Building was to be demolished.

January 2008 -- Ulman announces his plan to return to the renovation of George Howard Building, selling the land Robey bought, along with other surplus properties.

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