Sunday, September 3, 2017

Ghosts of the Past

It made me smile the other day to read that someone else shares my sentiment about the former Patuxent Publishing building on Little Patuxent Parkway.

Did I mention I love the Flier Building and hope it is preserved??

Call me crazy, but I have a soft spot in my heart for that building. I don't even particularly like architecture from that time period, but it's so quintessentially "Columbia" that I love it anyway. When the late blogger Dennis Lane wrote about its closure in 2010, I was one of the many to chime in in the comments section.

I'm trying to imagine a creative re-use for this building. Ideas?

At the time I was imagining the space would make a great church, or, truth be told, a signature Columbia residence.  (I still think it would be a great project for HGTV's Extreme Homes.) Or perhaps a Howard County home for Kennedy Krieger outreach.

Dennis didn't think the building would be preserved. As I recall, he suggested it was probably "a teardown." It languished until 2014 when the County bought it as the site of a future business incubator. Alas, it was not to be. With the election of Allan Kittleman as County Executive plans for the Flier Building were nixed. And now, this:

Introduced by: The Chairperson at the request of the County Executive

A RESOLUTION pursuant to Section 4.201 of the Howard County Code, authorizing the County Executive's sale of certain real property known as the "Flier Building" owned by Howard County, Maryland, containing approximately 2.159 acres, and located at 10750 Little Patuxent Parkway, Maryland; waiving the advertising and bidding requirements of Section 4.201 of the Howard County Code; and providing that the County Executive is not bound to sell the property if he finds that it may have a further public use. (tabled 7/29/16)

I'm feeling a twinge of disappointment here. The story of the Flier building isn't simply the story of a small-town newspaper, but also, in a way, of beloved Columbia residents Bob and Jean Moon. 

...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. (Baltimore Sun)

I wish it could be saved and reused with all of the fanfare we saw with the Rouse Building/Whole Foods site. I've heard that the building always had some functional problems. Perhaps it would be more expensive to save it than most buyers would be willing to take on. In the grand scheme of downtown development it's merely another centrally located spot for future development.

Who knows? That could end up being pretty cool, too. But maybe, just maybe...

Ah, well. I don't get a vote on this one. But I do have a request. If anyone who reads this blog has the power to wrangle me a tour of this building, message me and let me know. I really want to have that experience and savor a bit of Columbia history before it's too late.

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