The Columbia Flier Building is iconic in Columbia, for its unique design by architect Bob Moon, and as the home of the Columbia Flier and Howard County Times for 33 years. Located on Little Patuxent Parkway just down from Howard Community College, the building went on sale in 2012.
With its open floor plans and zoned work areas, some considered it a perfect site for the Howard County Nonprofit Center being planned at the time. Instead, Howard County purchased the building in 2014 during the Ulman administration for the future home of the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, an initiative of the Howard County Economic Development Authority.
County Executive Kittleman nixed the plan shortly after he was elected in 2015, finding that renovations would cost approximately $7.2 million, almost three times the purchase price. The property has now been identified as a potential site for construction of affordable housing.
Here’s a close-up look at the building, and a glimpse at its history.
Former Columbia Flier Building for Sale [Excerpt]
by Sara Toth (Columbia Flier), July 13, 2012
The building, which housed the Columbia Flier and its parent company, Patuxent Publishing, until 2011, opened in 1978 after two years of planning and construction. The Baltimore Sun Co. which is now owned by Tribune Co., purchased Patuxent and the Flier building in 1997. The building has been vacant since February 2011, when the Columbia Flier and its sister publication, the Howard County Times, moved to a suite of offices on Sterrett Place, in Columbia.
Earlier this week, Columbia architect Bob Moon, husband of the newspaper’s then-managing editor Jean Moon, said he designed the iconic building with a vision of youth.
“Zeke (Orlinsky, former owner of Patuxent) wanted something to reflect the youth and vitality of the organization,” Bob Moon said.
“We were all kids back then. I was 32 years old, and this was my first building on my own as a registered architect. The youth and vitality aspect had me looking at new materials for the building. I designed a building perfectly tailored for a newspaper.”
At the time, the building was the only paneled building in Columbia, Jean Moon said, and its contemporary style — porcelain-glazed steel panels lining two faces of the buildings, and large, tempered-glass windows — made it distinct.
There are nine levels within the 30,000 square-foot building, with a large lobby designed to a be “the drama, the stopping point,” said Jean Moon, who runs a marketing and public relations firm.
Description of the Property
Excerpt and photos from Cushman & Wakefield sales brochure
In the heart of the vibrant Columbia Town Center, the property is surrounded by a mix of corporate offices, regional mall, high-end multi-family housing and entertainment venues. The building was built with two, grade-level entrances on a gently sloping lot, which permits direct access to both levels. Construction is of structural steel-frame with insulated metal panel skin and masonry veneer. The front façade features a sloping glass curtain wall and entrance. The building is fully sprinklered; heated by gas-fired hot water loop, with split-system mounted air-conditioning units.
Executive Ulman Leads “Wall Breaking” at Columbia Flier Building [Excerpts]
by Howard County Government (October 15, 2014)
Howard County Executive Ken Ulman today led other county officials and business leaders in a ceremonial “wall breaking” at the iconic Columbia Flier building. The event marks the start of renovations that will transform the property into the future home of the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship (MCE).
“This building is all about innovation, excitement and energy. It has terrific open spaces for collaboration,” said County Executive Ulman. “I can imagine years in the future when young entrepreneurs will be working together in this space, building the businesses of tomorrow. I think we can all agree this will be a very fitting home for the jobs being created for the 21st century.”
The MCE, a component of the Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA), is a cutting-edge initiative that creates an ecosystem connecting entrepreneurs to ideas, financing and other assistance. Nearly 100 resident and affiliate businesses use space at the MCE to nurture their concepts, and companies that have graduated from the center are adding jobs, making products and contributing to the vibrant economic climate in Howard County.
YouTube video by Howard County Government (October 15, 2014) [There’s a brief video tour of some of the building at :18. The entire video is interesting for some of the history and early thinking about Columbia Downtown Development.]
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Featured photo at the beginning of the post
by Ed Bunyan, Howard County Times