ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced the release of a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the sale and redevelopment of the Long Reach Village Center (LRVC) property, located at 8775 Cloudleap Court in Columbia. The RFP can be found here.
“We will work with the community throughout this process to ensure this site once again becomes a vibrant destination and epicenter in our county,” said County Executive Calvin Ball.
Developed in the 1970’s, the LRVC was once a hub for residents serving a variety of neighborhood needs. The LRVC offered various civic spaces, which were developed to support commercial uses and provide focal points for social interaction. However, with growth of newer commercial centers nearby and changing market conditions, the LRVC began to experience disinvestment and high vacancy rates. In response, the Howard County Council passed legislation in 2014 to create a 19.1-acre Urban Renewal Area to address the blighted nature of the Village Center. Between 2014 and 2015, the County purchased several properties, including the center, amounting to approximately 7.7 acres, for redevelopment purposes.
Since taking office, County Executive Ball has worked to position the LRVC as a more attractive asset for sale. Through outreach and marketing, the LRVC has grown its office occupancy from 15 percent in 2018, prior to him becoming County Executive, to 75 percent, its retail occupancy from an abysmal 23 percent prior to 2019 to 90 percent, and its flex space from completely vacant to 70 percent occupied. Current tenants reflect a diverse mix of for-profit and non-profit entities offering a variety of resources to the broader community. By focusing on facade improvements and routine maintenance, the County has been able to maintain the integrity of the center and improve the aesthetic for tenants, residents, and potential buyers. As the commercial real estate market stabilizes following the COVID-19 pandemic, the LRVC is well positioned for a successful sale and redevelopment effort.
Long Reach is a dynamic community and we have been waiting a long time for this property to move forward. There is so much possibility and promise for an excellent redevelopment that supports and enhances our community.
In February of 2020, County Executive Ball presented his vision for the LRVC, dubbed “Long Reach Rising.” This strategy envisions the Center as a premier hub for the arts, STEM, and entrepreneurism. Long Reach Rising builds upon the 2012 Long Reach Village Center Community Plan and the ReImagine Long Reach Village Center Plan completed in 2016. The County’s principal goal with this RFP is to help launch a comprehensive revitalization of the village center.
Throughout the years, the County has engaged the community to discuss the redevelopment of the property. Last month, County Executive Ball and members from his staff briefed the Long Reach Village Board, community, and tenants of the LRVC about the County’s intent to issue an RFP for sale and redevelopment.
Additionally, in 2022 the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development renewed the designation of the Long Reach area as a Maryland Sustainable Community. This designation opens the possibility of grants and resources to increase the economic vitality and livability of the LRVC and the surrounding area.
“The Village Center for many years has been in desperate need of redevelopment – to be a place where residents can gather and relax, a destination in the neighborhood, a safe space – and this RFP will be the first step in realizing that dream,” said Reginald Avery, Columbia Association Board Member for the Village of Long Reach. “Thank you, County Executive Ball, for keeping your promise to our community.”
The County has retained the services of Chartwell Enterprises, a commercial real estate services firm, to advise and to help the County evaluate development proposals received in response to this RFP. The County will review proposals according to a competitive process and present the preferred proposal to County Council for approval as part of the Urban Renewal Project.
Questions regarding this property should be submitted electronically, concurrently to Patti Restrepo with Chartwell Enterprises at [email protected] and to the County at [email protected]. Responses to questions will be posted on the County’s “Long Reach Rising” website. Tours of the property are also available, by appointment only. To request a tour of the property, email Patti Restrepo with Chartwell Enterprises at [email protected]. Responses to the RFP are due by 11:59 p.m. on January 10, 2024.