Howard Hughes Corp: Merriweather Post Pavilion to Provide Central Park-like Setting for 4M SF of Development

Merriweather Post Pavilion

The Howard Hughes Corporation (NYSE: HHC) reported Friday that it intends to propose an initial Final Development Plan to the Howard Co., MD planning department this year for the huge swath of land it owns around the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD.

Dallas-based Howard Hughes Corp owns about 35 acres surrounding the outdoor concert venue, net of road and related infrastructure improvements. The acreage currently consists of raw land and subdivided land parcels readily available for new development.

“Preliminary plans call for at least four million square feet of development activity, with high-rise buildings surrounding the Central Park-like setting afforded by the Pavilion and its surrounding property,” Howard Hughes Corp said in its annual report.

Howard Hughes Corp. owns the Merriweather Post Pavilion, which was designed by architect Frank Gehry and opened in 1967. It is located within Symphony Woods, a 40-acre lot of preserved land that is owned by The Columbia Association, a non-profit that manages the planned community of Columbia.

This past December, bizjournals.com reported that Howard Hughes Corp and The Columbia Association were working on the details associated with the $15 to $20 million redevelopment of both the concert venue and Symphony Woods.

Last month, The Howard Hughes Corp, Kettler and the Orchard Development Corporation held a groundbreaking for The Metropolitan Downtown Columbia, the first development to proceed under the 2010 Downtown Columbia Plan. The Metropolitan will feature 380 luxury apartments, access-controlled garage parking and nearly 14,000 square feet of ground floor retail.

The 2010 Downtown Columbia Plan allows for up to 13 million square feet of new density comprised of 5,500 residential units, 4.3 million square feet of office, 1.25 million square feet of retail and up to 640 hotel rooms. The plan also includes a new multi-model transportation system and the redevelopment of Merriweather Post Pavilion.

In November 2010, Howard Hughes Corp entered into development agreements with General Growth Properties (GGP) related to the area adjacent to The Mall in Columbia, which is owned by GGP. Howard Hughes Corp has a Preferred Residential and Office Development Covenant that provides it with the right of first offer for new development densities of residential and office within the Columbia Mall Ring Road. This covenant expires in 2030.