Development group picked for new Howard courthouse

Howard County has selected a development consortium to spearhead the design, building, financing and operation of a 237,000-square-foot courthouse on county-owned land on Bendix Road in Columbia.

Edgemoor-Star America Judicial Partners was one of three finalists for the public-private partnership to build the $140 million project that will replace the county’s 175-year-old courthouse in Ellicott City, the county executive’s office announced Monday.

Nine groups had expressed interest in the work, one of the largest government buildings planned in the county this decade.

The project’s development group will finance the construction and also be responsible for designing the building and handling operations and maintenance under a 30-year contract using what the county has called “a hybrid financing solution.”

Howard County is expected to provide $75 million, borrowed through general obligation bonds, and a yearly service payment estimated at $10 million beginning in 2021, when the building is projected to open.

After 30 years, the county will take over the building, according to terms of the deal.

Under terms of the agreement, Edgemoor-Star America must hire minority and veteran-owned businesses for construction, operations, maintenance and supplies for at least 15 percent of the work.

Construction is expected to begin in August 2019 with an opening date in the summer of 2021.

The consortium includes Edgemoor Infrastructure and Real Estate, a Bethesda-based affiliate of the Clark Construction Group, and Star America Fund investors. Edgemoor and Clark projects have included buildings for major universities, civic centers and public schools.

“This team provided an elegant and well thought out site plan that incorporated an iconic and aspirational design with an honorable and stately building,” Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman said in a statement. “Their design for our future courthouse will prove to be an architectural landmark that expresses the values and traditions of Howard County’s justice system.”

The project includes a four-story atrium, security screening areas and a 691-space parking garage.

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