Last week, Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman joined economic development officials, property owners, and businesses to announce his vision to turn Columbia Gateway, Howard County's largest business center, into an innovation district.
Located at the intersection of I-95 and Rt. 175, Columbia Gateway is home to more than 400 businesses, employing approximately 26,000 people. The park combined with neighboring Gateway Commerce Center is 920 acres with a total of 8.1 million sq. ft. of commercial space.
"Building upon the tremendous success of Downtown Columbia, we need to continue to be aggressive in the way we plan to meet the demands of tomorrow's economy. We now have a unique opportunity to work closely with stakeholders to create a new framework to drive innovation and economic development in Howard County," said Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman. "Many of the pieces necessary to help elevate Columbia Gateway into becoming a hub of innovation for our region are already here. I am excited and encouraged to work alongside the great companies and institutions to help get it there."
Under the County Executive's new vision, the business park would be turned into an innovation district, where leading-edge companies work with anchor educational intuitions and startups to collaborate on new technologies and services. Creative connections would be fostered with more compact, wired, and transit rich development patterns. Innovation Districts are an economic development model that has emerged not only in the United States, but around the world.
"We know that in order for there to be a healthy innovation environment you have to create connections and community," said Lawrence Twele, CEO of the Howard County Economic Development Authority. "One of our first goals will be to engage the people and businesses already here.