Howard County plans to purchase an iconic building in downtown Columbia, County Executive Ken Ulman announced Thursday.
The "Flier building" on Little Patuxent Parkway —formerly home to the Columbia Flier newspaper—will soon house the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, a Howard County business incubator program, Ulman said.
"[Entrepreneurs] will benefit from the energy in the heart of Columbia. And one of Columbia’s signature buildings will get a new use that honors the innovative spirit of its past," Ulman said.
The Flier building has an open floor plan, angular roof and exterior glass and metal panels on more than two acres near Howard Community College, according to a statement from the county. It has been vacant for approximately two years, since the Baltimore Sun consolidated operations.
Once the interior is renovated, the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship will move in and its current space on Bendix Road will go toward other county needs.
“Just like with the former Rouse Company headquarters that is becoming a Whole Foods on the lake, Columbia is honoring its past as it moves into the future,” County Executive Ulman said. “Smart re-use of exceptional properties, along with sustainable new development, will help downtown Columbia reach its potential.”
The Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship is an initiative under the Howard County Economic Development Authority that provides space for nearly 100 businesses to get connected to financing, ideas and other assistance, Ulman said.
"This will be the place to collaborate and thrive, and take these businesses—and Columbia itself—to the next level," Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship Executive Director Julie Lenzer Kirk said.
Howard County has entered into a $2.8 million purchase and sale agreement for the property, with funds available in the fiscal year 2014 county budget, according to a statement from the county.