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What’s Missing? Route 1 Redevelopment And Affordable Housing


There are parts of Howard County that need redevelopment and reinvestment, according to Economic Development Authority CEO Larry Twele. Route 1 is the most obvious. But it’ll require a developer with an appetite for dealing with an older industrial area with small parcels and in need of land assemblage, Larry tells us. 

Howard County's trying to spur some redevelopment by offering a tax credit to incentivize owners along the entire Route 1 corridor to renovate or rehabilitate their properties. The county also has funding to help business growth and development throughout the corridor. 

Some mixed-use development has popped up between North Laurel and Elkridge along the Route 1 corridor, including Ashbury Courts (300 units and 28k SF of commercial), Mission Place (380 units and 90k SF of commercial) and Howard Square (1,000 units and 320k SF of commercial).

Larry tells us there’s also been debate about the need for more affordable housing in the county. Howard County is the second-wealthiest county in the country, according to 2013 Census figures. The big question, according to Larry, is where the affordable housing should go and how to balance out the cost of land.

Columbia, which was planned by founder James Rouse to be economically diverse, approved a redevelopment proposal this summer that would include nearly 1,000 new affordable homes. However, HUD has proposed cuts to the rental subsidies provided to Columbia families, making new homes less accessible to low-income families.