The future of the Columbia Flier Building is uncertain

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

Main Entrance, Columbia Flier Building (Cushman & Wakefield)

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.

First and Second Floor Plan, Columbia Flyer Building (Cushman & Wakefield)

“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.

Lobby, Columbia Flier Building (by Cushman & Wakefield)

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.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/ph-ho-cf-flier-building-0712-20120713-story.html

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.

Rear Parking and Loading Dock, Columbia Flier Building (Cushman & Wakefield)

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).

(Photo by R. Scott Kramer) Howard County Government held an announcement event about establishing the Maryland Center of Entrepreneurship in the Columbia Flier Building in October of 2014. The plan fell through.

“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.]

Monument outside Columbia Flier Building (by Columbia Patch)

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Featured photo at the beginning of the post

by Ed Bunyan, Howard County Times

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/ellicott-city/ph-ho-cf-howard-property-disposal-story.html

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The Toby and Hal Orenstein Cultural Arts Center, coming soon to downtown Columbia, MD

On March 1st, 2018 the Howard County Planning Board unanimously approved the site development plan for construction of a New Cultural Center in Downtown Columbia. I’m jumping ahead a bit to be naming it after Toby and Hal Orenstein. She, of course, is the founder of Toby’s Dinner Theatre, the Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts (CCTA), and has been a seminal figure in the Columbia arts scene for 45 years. What other name could we possibly give this center that will be the new home for Toby’s and CCTA, other performance spaces, and has been a dream of Toby and Hal’s for decades?

Meet Toby

Since 1979 Toby Orenstein has been the Artistic Director and owner of Toby’s Dinner Theatre in Columbia, MD.

Toby is also the Founder and Director of the Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts, Inc. (CCTA). In 1972, at the invitation of visionary developer James Rouse, she created a school for young people who possessed an interest in the performing arts. A special group of those students, The Young Columbians, were invited to the White House and performed a musical tribute to America during the Bicentennial Year (1976). The Young Columbians still perform today at special programs all over Maryland.

Born and raised in the Bronx, Toby attended New York’s famous High School of Performing Arts and graduated from Columbia University with a split degree in education and theatre. Toby received early inspiration from her work on Eleanor Roosevelt’s All Day Neighborhood School Project, a program designed to motivate and stimulate disaffected, under-privileged, inner-city youth to learn through the arts. She continues to work with students, parents and educators to “inspire with action, creativity and change through the arts.”

Over the years, as a respected leader and advocate for children and the arts, Toby has been regarded as the matriarch of the performing arts in Howard County and all of Maryland receiving countless honors. Among these are Columbian of the Year, Arts Advocate of the Year, Outstanding Woman in the Arts (MD State Department of Education) and is a Helen Hayes Award winner for Outstanding Direction in a Musical for her production of Jekyll and Hyde at Toby’s Dinner Theatre.

She was also selected as a Marylander of Distinction by Maryland Life magazine and was inducted into both Howard County and the State of Maryland’s Woman’s Hall of Fame. Recently she was honored by the Howard County Commission on Disabilities with the Leadership Award for Accessibility.

In operation for 38 years, over 200 productions with over 90 Helen Hayes Award nominations, Toby has so much to be proud of and thankful for but nothing more so then her husband, two children and four grandchildren.

http://tobysdinnertheatre.com/about-us/meet-toby/

Proposed multi-purpose arts center envisioned as ‘crown jewel’ of Columbia [Excerpts]

by Fatimah Waseem (Columbia Flier) July 27, 2016

The New Cultural Arts Center, from Symphony Woods Road (Design Collective).

A plan to grow the arts on nearly three acres of downtown Columbia is underway as the town chases a vision of becoming a vibrant, urban core.

The concept proposed by Orchard Development Corp. would create the county’s first cultural arts center — a $130 million facility that integrates art organizations under one roof, caters affordable housing to artists and creates a year-round laboratory for artists and art lovers alike.

Aerial Site Plan, Crescent Neighborhood (Design Collective), showing full build-out.  The proposed Cultural Arts Center, where Toby’s Dinner Theater is currently located, is highlighted in red, facing a new North-South road, Symphony Woods Road.

“This is something that has been a long time coming and will be sort of a crown jewel for downtown Columbia,” said Scott Armiger, president of Orchard Development Corp. “It’s a gateway spot into Columbia or will be when the Crescent [neighborhood] gets developed.”

As proposed, the center would relocate Toby’s Dinner Theatre, the Howard County Arts Council, the Columbia Festival of the Arts and the Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts. The center, proposed in the Crescent neighborhood, would include a parking garage, a visual arts center, a performing arts space, black box theaters, studios and a cafe.

The proposed Cultural Arts Center, view from Symphony Woods looking East (Design Collective).

The proposal fills a gaping void in the arts community, said Toby Orenstein, owner of Toby’s Dinner Theatre and founder of the Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts. “I have three buckets full of plans for centers or for buildings that I was going to use. They’re all in my house,” Orenstein said. “This is the furthest we’ve gotten with this dream. And these are hopes and dreams that have been around for ever and ever and ever.”

Orenstein has run Toby’s for 35 years. Under the proposal, the theater will join other organizations as a tenant in the center.

Site plan for proposed Cultural Arts Center (Design Collective).

Artist flats geared for artists who may be part of the center are included in the proposal.

The plans for housing, part of a proposed binding agreement with Columbia’s master developer, Howard Hughes Corp., create 209 [192 in the approved plan] one- and two-bedroom apartments atop the cultural arts center, around 100 of which would be affordable by targeting people who earn about half of the county’s median income of $110,133.

“The plan is to make Columbia a vibrant arts district. The arts are a symbol of that urban lifestyle,” West [Coleen West, Executive Director, Howard County Arts Council] said.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/columbia/ph-ho-cf-downtown-arts-center-0728-20160726-story.html

Comments?

Your comments are welcome at https://www.facebook.com/Hocomdcc/

There’s another artist in the Schwarz family

CJ Schwarz is my wife. She’s also a mother, a neighbor, a social worker, an acupuncturist, a friend. One of her talents is painting which she took up about three years ago. Her paintings are mostly of subjects CJ and I encountered together (or at least I lived with the painting for the time it took to create).  She was inspired by my mother, a professional painter, during the 8 years they knew each other. Mom always took great glee in showing CJ her latest project and sharpening her ability to see.

I blogged about Mom previously (https://hocomd.cc/2016/06/09/i-am-my-mothers-oldest-son-the-art-of-jane-i-schwarz/).  I’m pleased to now share some of CJ’s work. To find more, just click on the Gallery tab in the left margin, or bookmark this link: http://www.dailypaintworks.com/artists/c-j-schwarz-7628/artwork.


I paint by instinct and observation. I have always had an appreciation for Nature in its many forms. As a child I spent hours outdoors playing and many a time watching insects, examining flowers and admiring the spring and summer plants and trees. Landscapes and animals are my favorite subject matter. I am captivated by the colors, the light and shapes of a location.

Having always loved animals, I like to pay particularly close attention to an animal’s eyes in painting them. I hope to communicate the animal’s personality and what they might be thinking of in the moment. Lila is an extremely bright dog belonging to a friend of mine. I was captivated by the intensity of her eyes and her beautiful coat.

 
One can never truly capture the beauty of nature but, hopefully these paintings reflect some of its essence. Nature is not separate from us – we are nature.

Columbia Lakefront Design Guidelines being considered by Design Advisory Panel

As stated in the Downtown-wide Design Guidelines, the vision for the Lakefront Core Neighborhood is to bring community life and activity back to the water’s edge. Lakefront Core should be a lively, walkable neighborhood connected and oriented to Lake Kittamaqundi. The existing Lakefront Plaza amenity space shall retain its identity as an important historic and symbolic gathering place in Columbia. Iconic sculptures such as the People Tree and The Hug are landmarks in the community and should be retained within the Lakefront area.

One of the objectives for the development of Downtown Columbia is to create a vibrant, walkable, and economically sustainable community in which to live, work, and play, by creating dense and compact mixed-use neighborhoods. A
sustainable neighborhood should create an urban ecology through an integrated green infrastructure network that includes trees, vegetation, and amenity spaces.

https://www.howardcountymd.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=hLLFe9LkP84%3d&portalid=0&timestamp=1496683188759

Design Advisory Panel

by Russ Swatek, Howard County Citizens Association

The Design Advisory Panel (DAP) is meeting in the Ellicott Room on Wednesday June 14, 2017 7pm at the County offices to address the Howard Hughes Corp (HHC) newly proposed Columbia Lakefront Core Neighborhood Design Guidelines.

Passing these proposed Guidelines past the DAP is just the first part of their journey to the Planning Board and on up the chain to eventual approval/ disapproval. The DAP recommendation of approval/disapproval will go along with it and be considered by future entities in their deliberations of the proposal.

  1. These proposed Guidelines are intended to be a total replacement of the existing Columbia Downtown wide Design Guidelines for the Lakefront Core Neighborhood.
  2. The footprint of the Lakefront Core Neighborhood is proposed to be expanded to include the current American City building with its parking lot and the Copeland restaurant/parking structure areas.
  3. The maximum allowable building heights for the additional areas proposed to be included in the Neighborhood are to be raised from 9 stories to 15 stories. This new area is on the east side of Little Patuxent Parkway.
  4. The Wincopin Circle street is proposed to be extended southward from its current location to run between the current American City building with its parking lot and the Hug Statue / Columbia Association Lake Kittamaqundi amphitheater area and then on past Whole Foods.

 

Plans for Columbia Lakefront Core Neighborhood

The Lakefront Core Neighborhood, surrounded by the larger Lakefront Neighborhood, is located between Lake Kittamaquandi and Little Patuxent Parkway and is bounded by Wincopin Circle to the north and the access drive to
Whole Foods/ former Rouse Company Headquarters to the south.

 

Lakefront Core Neighborhood – Connectivity

The Lakefront area has been isolated from other areas of Downtown Columbia due to the design of Little Patuxent Parkway and topography. The Downtown Columbia Plan proposes three new amenity space corridors extending east
to west that will enhance connectivity between the lake and other downtown destinations.

Lakefront Core Neighborhood Active Frontage Plan

As described in the Downtown Columbia Design Guidelines, Lakefront Core is envisioned as a lively, walkable neighborhood connected and oriented to Lake Kittamaqundi where residences, offices, shops and restaurants as well as entertainment, civic, and cultural uses are all integrated.

Lakefront Core Neighborhood Building Height Plan

In character with this vision, buildings range from 1 to 15 stories in height with shared parking facilities and parking facilities integrated either wholly or partially within individual buildings.

Amenity Space, Downtown Columbia

Open spaces, such as plazas, promenades, and greens, are incorporated within the neighborhood, providing connections back to other Downtown destinations and views to the lake. Natural areas flank and buffer the lake, providing trails and shared-use paths that connect to a larger pedestrian and bicycle network.

More info and share your opinion

by Russ Swatek, Howard County Citizens Association

The Design Advisory Panel (DAP) is meeting in the Ellicott Room on Wednesday June 14, 2017 7pm at the County offices to address the Howard Hughes Corp (HHC) newly proposed Columbia Lakefront Core Neighborhood Design Guidelines.

The newly proposed Design Guidelines are at:

https://www.howardcountymd.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=hLLFe9LkP84%3d&portalid=0%C3%97tamp=1496683188759

The DAP agenda can be found at:

https://www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/Planning-and-Zoning/Boards-and-Commissions/Design-Advisory-Panel#

If you have any thoughts about these proposals, then please submit them to the DAP.  The DAP does not take public testimony at their meetings, but written input can be provided in advance of their meetings by using their web input form at:

https://www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/Planning-and-Zoning/Boards-and-Commissions/Design-Advisory-Panel/Submit-Comments-Form

or by emailing your comments to: dap@howardcountymd.gov

Note that any comments should be there before Tuesday night so the DAP members have a chance to read them prior to their meeting.

Guess what country this coin is from!

I am an occasional collector of a lot of different collections. I blame my antique-collecting grandparents for the gene (https://hocomd.cc/2016/10/09/my-grandparents-were-john-schwarz-antiques/). One of my collections is foreign coins and currencies. I have money from 72 different countries, some just a single coin or currency, and others a real moneybag. I love the coins for the artistry, sometimes the politics, always the history and values represented. These are some of my favorites. (Click on any coin for a slideshow.)

 Captions describe the coin in my collection. Images are from World Coin Gallery:  http://worldcoingallery.com/index.php

My grandparents were John Schwarz Antiques

My grandparents, John and Marie Schwarz, were Baltimore antique dealers from at least 1925, until my grandmother liquidated the business in 1985.  John took over the family business when he was about 25, located on Antique Row, 827 N. Howard Street, and moved it some years later to 2013/2015 North Charles Street. My grandfather was known throughout the Mid Atlantic and New England as a leading expert in the decorative arts and assisted in the development of that portion of the American collection at the Baltimore Museum of Art.  

Papa John and Dede brought together all of our extended family, and I grew up having great times hanging at their antique store. So many magical and fascinating googahs and places to hide for small people. I honored my grandparents for their business savvy and was counted on to help with accounting at times. I delivered holiday orders one December when I was 20, learned my way around Baltimore, and was introduced to some of its wealthiest neighborhoods.  I was even with them at times as they traveled New England, buying antiques at small shops and auctions.

My grandmother continued managing the business after Papa John died in 1966, with the help of their daughter, Ann Keene. Antique furniture has infused all of our family. It enriches my artistic sense.  

Continue reading My grandparents were John Schwarz Antiques

I Am My Mother’s Oldest Son – The Art of Jane I. Schwarz

My mother, Jane Imbach Schwarz, is an artist. While I never inherited her skills in the fine arts, I am imbued with her spirit and fascination with our world. I loved her for her commitment to being a great artist, an inspirational teacher, for her social ease, and for the way she conquered her struggles.We’d have heated arguments precisely because we understood each other’s point of view, and I’d always get her jokes.

My mother died November 20, 1993 at age 66. She continues to speak to me through her art. Here are some of my favorite pieces. Continue reading I Am My Mother’s Oldest Son – The Art of Jane I. Schwarz