Columbia Tomorrow


Despite the scale of planning at the start of the project, not everything that has happened in Columbia over the past 50 years has been as expected.  No doubt, the next 50 years will also bring additional surprises, but we can make some projections.


Downtown Revitalization

The central core of the city – Downtown Columbia –  is slated to become the Center of Commerce and Culture for the region.  Here are some of the exciting developments to anticipate:

  • 5,500 new residential units projected
  • 4.3 million square feet of commercial office space
  • 1.25 million square feet of retail space
  • 640 hotel rooms
  • Merriweather Post Pavilion redevelopment
  • Multi-modal transportation system development

The projected redevelopments are part of a 30-year master plan which was unanimously adopted by the Howard County Council in February 2010.

This plan is intended to transform Downtown Columbia, along with all portions of Columbia and Howard County.



Columbia’s village centers will continue to be a mainstay for all aspects of community life.  Still, some exciting changes are in the works:

  • Alta Wilde Lake apartments (currently under construction) will be available for lease in Summer 2017.
  • Wilde Lake Village Center is currently undergoing extensive refurbishment—turning inside out and expanding to include new services and more stores.
  • Long Reach and Oakland Mills Village Centers are expected to follow Wilde Lake and redevelop in order to attract new families and businesses.

In fifty years, we expect Columbia to be undergoing a further transformation – evolving to keep with the times and meet the needs of a new generation of residents.  Throughout every transition. one thing that will remain certain—Columbia will always be a forward-thinking community, staying true to the values with which it was founded.


Columbia Association

Arguably the most important institution in Columbia is the Columbia Association (CA).  It is the steward of the city’s values and assets.  CA is distinguished by the breadth and variety of the recreational, cultural and community services that it provides.

Among CA’s services today are:

  • Before and after school care
  • Summer Camps
  • Teen Center
  • Columbia Archives
  • Columbia Art Center
  • Fitness facilities and programs
  • Sports facilities and programs
  • Open space management
  • Pathways

In years to come, the services which CA offers will evolve and  respond to changing demographics and trends in the marketplace.

CA will continue to manage Columbia’s natural assets, such as our lakes and open spaces.  The organization will also maintain the provision of  essential services in and support many community-wide events.