Monday, April 10, 2023

Did You Get My Best Side?


It all depends on how you look at it. Here you see two photos of the same building. The one on the top gives off the kind of glow than an iconic Columbia building ought to have. The one on the bottom looks sad, lonely, ready for death.

Yes, it’s the old Columbia Flier building, and it’s back in the news again.

    Photo credit: Scott Kramer

Ellicott City Patch, featuring the sad and lonely photo, has the most hopeful text:

An updated RFP has been released for the Flier Building, which Howard County officials hope will have a new purpose soon. Former Columbia Flier Building Still For Sale, Howard Co. Leaders Hopeful For Its Future

The Baltimore Business Journal couples the attractive photo with less glowing prose:

The modern building on Little Patuxent Parkway was built in 1978 and could be demolished to make way for a new use. Howard County issues RFP for redevelopment of high-profile building

Demolished. Hoo boy. That really gets you right in the nostalgia, eh?

I’ve always been irrationally fond of this building, especially considering that I never knew it in its heyday. Over the years I’ve come to terms with the knowledge that it may not be possible to save it. I touched on this when the first RFP was released three years ago.

Yesterday and Today, Village Green/Town², February 10, 2020

The County owns the property and has found creative ways to use the space that benefit the community. It is also true that the end goal is very likely to sell the building and the land for an entirely new project. That’s just the way it is.

February, 2020 was not long before the shut down for COVID-19. It doesn’t surprise me that there hasn’t been a huge outpouring of capital to invest in and develop this site. In the meantime, the County has continued to foster creative use for the building. It’s currently the temporary headquarters of Columbia Community Care.  The space enables them to provide home delivery service to families in need.

I’ve long since given up my idealistic fantasies for this building. Still, I can’t get over what different emotions those two photographs stir up inside me.

Wow, that’s sad. I guess it’s really time for it to go.

“Demolish”? What do they mean, “demolish”?

Same building. Such different feelings. 

To possible investors the photos are irrelevant. The building has been considered by most to be a “teardown” for quite some time. What matters to them is the amount of land and where it’s located. Will investors be willing to put their money into a project at that location?

We shall see.

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