Columbia, part of Howard County, Maryland, is a principal city in the Baltimore and Washington metropolitan area. Though it is not incorporated, it is a census-designated place. Columbia earned a designation as the #1 Best Place to Live in the U.S. from Money Magazine.
Columbia houses an impressive number of established corporations, research institutions, non-profits, and healthcare providers. Office space tenants include MedStar Health, PetMeds, Martek Biosciences, Corporate Office Properties Trust, QSSI, Enterprise Community Partners, Horizon Foundation, Impaq International, GP Strategies, and Harkins Builders. The city also has several large U.S. Department of Defense facilities, such as the National Security Agency and the Applied Physics Laboratory.
Columbia’s educated workforce and proximity to both D.C. and Baltimore make it an ideal place for new and established businesses. Columbia is also rated #5 for job growth in the country.
Columbia Office Space | Lease Data and Trends
|Class A||Class B||Vacancy|
|Columbia Town Center||$35/sf||$26/sf||12%|
Columbia, MD has nearly 10 million square feet of total office space a vacancy rate slightly below 15%. The first half of 2018 saw more than more than 100,000 square feet of new space come onto the market. There is an additional 300,000 square feet of new construction still under development.
The average rental price is just slightly above the Baltimore metro average, which is around $25 per square foot (across all building classes). Columbia has more than twice as much Class A space as Class B. Class A office space has an average asking rent of around $30 per square foot. Class B office spaces for lease typically go for around $24 per square foot. Office rents fluctuate depending on a variety of factors, including location lease terms.
What Our Brokers Say About Columbia Office Space for Rent
Columbia is a planned community composed of 10 villages; this design was intended to be an upgrade from the typical subdivision design and provide a small-town feel. The following villages are in Columbia: Wilde Lake, Harper’s Choice, Oakland Mills, Long Reach, Owen Brown, Town Center, Hickory Ridge, Kings Contrivance, Dorsey’s Search, and River Hill. Each village contains several neighborhoods, a village center, schools, a shopping center, a community center, homes, and walking paths. Many of the streets in Columbia are named after literary references from the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert Frost, and Mark Twain.
One of the most important and exciting developments currently underway in Columbia involves the construction of a technology hub in the Merriweather District. “The Merriweather District represents the future of Maryland’s tech evolution, and as the future home of Tenable’s new headquarters, it also means hundreds of new jobs in Columbia,” Gov. Larry Hogan said. The project will take place in two phases to construct 1.5 million square feet of office space, more than 2,000 residences, and the headquarters of cybersecurity firm Tenable.
Get to Know Columbia, MD
Once a business chooses Columbia as its location for establishment or expansion, it’s time to find out what else the area has to offer. When it comes to food, recreation, and shopping, Columbia has plenty to choose from. Schedule the next business meeting or lunch at one of the following OpenTable-recommended restaurants: Stanford Grill, Maggiano’s, Seasons 52, Mint Indian Cuisine & Lounge, or Rudy’s Mediterranean Grill. Columbia also has a wide range of indoor and outdoor recreational activities for downtime. The city includes 23 outdoor swimming pools, six indoor pools, ice and roller skating rinks, and equestrian center, three athletic clubs, sports facilities, and more. Those who like fishing, sailing, and boating can visit one of the three nearby lakes: Lake Kittamaqundi, Lake Elkhorn, and Wilde Lake. Each village center has its own shopping opportunities, but the largest shopping center is The Mall in Columbia, which has more than 200 stores and restaurants. Other shopping centers include Dobbin Center strip mall and Snowden Square big box retail.
Columbia residents and employees are mostly car-dependent due to limited walkability and public transportation. Howard Transit has six bus routes in Columbia that provide transportation to Ellicott City and BWI Airport, among other destinations. A few Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) routes deliver passengers to and from Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. Passengers who want to use the Washington Metro system can get there using the MTA weekday commuter bus service.
The Regional Transportation Agency of Central Maryland also provides local bus service; routes include 401, 402, 403, 404, 405, 406, 407, 408, 501, and 503. Columbia also has the Dorsey MARC Train station. The Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is about a 25-minute drive away from Columbia.
Columbia, MD History
Columbia stands out for many reasons. Prior to the Fair Housing Act of 1968, Columbia was established with the intention to create an integrated community. This 10-village community required six months of careful planning by experts in a variety of fields such as education, recreation, sociology, transportation, architecture, and religion. Howard Research and Development (HRD) and founder James Rouse developed Columbia. “We must hold fast to the realization that our cities are for people, and unless they work well for people they are not working well at all,” Rouse said.
Rouse’s plan for the city involved not only the 10 villages and their usual amenities but also open classrooms, interfaith centers, and a health maintenance organization (HMO), which back then was a relatively new concept.
The city was unveiled on June 21, 1967. Columbia isn’t incorporated, but the non-profit Columbia Association provides some governance.
In 2010, The Downtown Columbia Plan established an expansion plan for the county that involved updating Downtown Columbia over the next thirty years. Individual projects will include additional office space, environmental restoration, and public amenities. This Howard Hughes Corporation development is expected to cost $90 and continue until 2050. Today, more than 100,000 people live in Columbia, which is arguably the most successful model of New Town development.