Howard County Blog

A Blog on what is going on in Howard County

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

In the Howard County Blogosphere

Bill Santos has done a great job looking at another mall that GGP owns and recently expanded in a similar way as it sounds like GGP is considering expanding the Columbia Mall. There is a lot of meat in Bill’s post. You should go read it yourself, but a couple things stand out from GGP’s experience with the other mall it wanted to expand:

1) It took 4.5 years to get a mall expansion approved. Here in Columbia we are talking about the complete redevelopment of the downtown of the second largest community in the state of Maryland. Personally, I sure hope we can complete our plan in a lot less time than the Natick Mall redevelopment project, but it kind of puts things in perspective.

2) GGP committed to mitigate the cost to the community of their development. Bill quotes this section of a Boston Globe article addressing GGP’s Vice President Jim Grant's reaction to GGP’s work with the community to the mitigation the costs of their development:

"I don't think, four years ago, we expected it to be that high," Grant said of the total mitigation costs. "In every case, we said, 'Gosh, this is tough, but we can live with this amount.' "

Note the reaction. It is tough, but we can live with this amount. The desirability to build in Howard County is as high and more likely much higher than at this other mall project that was rather small compared to the redevelopment of downtown Columbia. I have said from the start that I want GGP to make a huge profit, but that profit must not come at the expense of tax-payers, lien-payers, or the community’s values of mixed income communities and the preservation of greenspace.

3) Julian J. Munnich, the Planning Board Chairman of the community where this other mall is, had this very important thing to say that Bill quotes from that Boston Globe article:

Natick would not have received the concessions "unless the town could show they had the wherewithal to be serious in its negotiations," Munnich said.

This goes back to my longstanding frustration with those in our community that want to play the “we are asking for to much” surrender flag or try to say we cannot ask for X because Y is a higher priority for them and they stupidly think the best way to get Y is to pick a fight with the people who want X rather than actually insisting that the plan include Y.


Blogger Hayduke said...

Also of note from the story is this quote from Jim Grant:

"Everything we have suggested or filed with the town, we ultimately have been able to get approved in some fashion or another. They've never just chased us out of there and said 'No, we don't like that.' "

Note how our situation differs from there's (and how the quote you include about negotiations isn't perfectly applicable). Natick -- apparently -- got what it wanted only after granting all of GGP's requests. On the other hand, we're already putting limits on what we think GGP can have but putting no limits on what we think they owe us.

Aside: "Surrender flag"? Why the constant use of battle terminology?

7:25 AM  
Blogger Evan said...


I guess I read that quote a little differently than you. I read the words "ultimate" and "some fashion or another" as making that statement less absolute than the other quotes. Clearly from the other quotes there was negotiations and any time there is some back and forth there is very likely to be a statement similar to "No, we don't like that". So reading this quote in the context of the rest of the article and not out of context as you quote it here I stand by my reading of the other communities experience. Why you continue to sing Kumbaya and make ridiculous statements like this other town "got what it wanted only after granting all of GGP's requests" beats me. That is not how the real world works. Once a profit seeking entity has everything it wants it doesn't suddenly decide give away what it didn't have to. It only makes you look like you have Stockholm Syndrome for you to keep saying that the world works some other way. I really think you have more sense than this and I think if you would take more time to reflect you might be more likely to get the outcome I think you want downtown.

12:29 AM  
Blogger Hayduke said...

So, we both interpret the quote differently, though I'll admit to poor phrasing when I said "only after granting all of GGP's request." The timing aspect is totally pointless and I'm not suggesting that the town approved all of GGP's requests and came groveling back to the developer for some sidewalks. I realize that these back and forths happen in real time. The point is, the town got everything it wanted and GGP did, too.

The second half of your comment is completely unnecessary -- it's basically a wordy way of calling me a child who doesn't understand grown up things. Belittling others is no way to win an argument.

8:29 AM  

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