Columbia is a planned community comprising 10 self-contained villages, located in Howard County, Maryland—the second wealthiest county in the United States, according to 2013 U.S. Census Bureau figures. It began with the idea that a city could enhance its residents’ quality of life. Creator and developer James W. Rouse saw the new community in terms of human values, rather than merely economics and engineering. Opened in 1967, Columbia was intended to not only eliminate the inconveniences of then-current subdivision design, but also eliminate racial, religious, and class segregation. Columbia has consistently ranked in the top ten of CNN Money’s Best Places to Live in America.
Columbia proper consists only of that territory governed by the Columbia Association, but larger areas are included under its name by the U.S. Postal Service and the Census Bureau. These include several other communities which predate Columbia, including Simpsonville, Atholton, and in the case of the census, part of Clarksville. The census-designated place had a population of 103,683 according to 2013 Census estimates, making it the most populous community in Maryland after Baltimore.
Columbia’s nine “village centers” provide residents with nearby shopping as well, often including supermarkets, gas stations, liquor stores, dry cleaners, restaurants, and hair salons. The village centers are laid out so that individual stores are not visible from the road, unlike traditional strip malls. The arrangement is criticized because it makes it difficult for newcomers and non-residents to know what shopping is available; it is praised for eliminating much of the garishness of roadside America. Columbia takes its street names from famous works of art and literature: for example, the neighborhood of Hobbit’s Glen takes its street names from the work of J. R. R. Tolkien; Running Brook, from the poetry of Robert Frost; and Clemens Crossing, from the work of Mark Twain.
The village centers have evolved over time. The Oakland Mills Village Center had a traditional Village Center layout—stores located off a central corridor—until its demolition in the late 1990s. It has since been replaced with a more traditional strip mall managed by Cedar Realty Trust. The Rouse company abandoned the village center concept in 2002, selling off the assets to Kimco Realty for $120 million. The Kings Contrivance Village Center underwent major construction in 2007 and 2008 when a new Harris Teeter supermarket was added to the center, but maintained the original character of stores around a central corridor and plaza. Owen Brown village center is now managed by GFS Realty, and the Long Reach Village center was declared blighted and purchased by Howard County for resale in 2014.
FOREVER FLAWLESS Store-The Mall in Columbia
The Forever Flawless Store is located in The Mall in Columbia, also known as the Columbia Mall, or The Mall, the central shopping mall for the planned community of Columbia,Maryland, United States. It has five anchor department stores (Sears, JCPenney, Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Lord & Taylor) and over 200 specialty stores. It includes a 14-screen AMC Theatres. The mall is located in the Town Center area of the city and attracts shoppers from surrounding counties in Maryland. Architect Frank Gehry designed The Rouse Company Columbia exhibit building, and was initially selected to design the neighboring mall centerpiece. Gehry was later rejected by Rouse for lack of experience, and the firm of Cope, Linder, & Walmsley was contracted for the project.
The Mall opened in 1971 with two major anchor stores: Hochschild Kohn’s (which was replaced by Hecht’s in the mid-1970s) and Woodward & Lothrop, as well as a McCrory’s and Lerner’s, which were minor anchors. Howard Research and Development was probed shortly after opening for purchasing bulk energy contracts on electricity while charging market rates to tenants. The Mall has undergone several major expansions since its opening, with the Sears wing opening in 1981, along with an expansion of approximately 370,000 square feet (34,000 m2) and about 55 specialty stores.
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