Some projects do more than deliver a building. Some change communities.

In Columbia, COPT Defense Properties found a solution to a longstanding need by the United Way of Central Maryland. The nonprofit was striving to build a Family Center which could provide affordable childcare to low- and moderate-income families as well as multigenerational family services.

The United Way’s new Family Center transformed an underutilized parking lot into a valuable source of affordable childcare and multigenerational services. Photo courtesy of COPT Defense Properties.

“From the standpoint of accessibility and proximity to major employers, Columbia Gateway made a lot of sense,” said Krysta Herring, Vice President of Asset Management + Leasing.

Furthermore, COPT Defense owned an under-utilized parking lot at 7125 Columbia Gateway Drive – a location that would place the center away from heavy traffic, near a wooded area and at the heart of the development.

“Our team designed a modern and efficient building that blends perfectly into its corporate office setting,” Herring said. “This community center design also has a very warm, cozy feel. When you pull up to the front door, you experience a wonderful, inviting energy. A beautiful playground sits adjacent to the front door. Lots of windows for natural interior lighting and lots of interesting design features have been incorporated into the façade. This center created a place that really welcomes families and children, allowing children to feel comfortable, inspired, encouraged and well supported.”

The challenges of financing construction of the 10,000-square-foot infill building were also greatly alleviated by a generous community.

“As one of our driving principles at COPT Defense, we are committed to making a positive impact in communities where we live, work and serve so this was exactly the type of initiative that we wanted to support,” Herring said.

The $46 million redevelopment of Northwood Plaza is spurring economic development and delivering needed services to a community and a university. Photo courtesy of MCB Real Estate.

Business partners of COPT Defense – including, construction, architecture, engineering and subcontracting firms – also aided the project through donations of funds, expertise and services.

“Whenever we asked someone to partner with us, to pitch in and help make this project happen, there was no hesitation. People just wanted to know how can I help,” Herring said. “So many people touched this project and enabled it to come out of the ground.”

In Baltimore City, MCB Real Estate crafted a redevelopment to not just optimize a property’s potential but to spur economic growth, deliver services to an under-served community, benefit an HBCU and address a historic injustice.

The $46 million redevelopment of the former Northwood Plaza Shopping Center produced 120,000 square feet of new retail, restaurants and services, including a 35,000-square-foot Lidl grocery store that ended the neighborhood’s long status as a food desert. Set on 10 acres adjacent to Morgan State University (MSU), the project also provided key benefits to the university, including an 11,000-square-foot Barnes and Noble College Café and a 20,000-square-foot, state of the art Public Safety Building for MSU.

The redevelopment also created more equity on a site with a troubled past. Developed in the 1940s, the original shopping center was segregated and became the site of civil rights demonstrations in the 1950s and ‘60s. The Northwood Commons project surpassed its MBE participation goal and saw 43 percent of work completed by minority-owned businesses. A black-owned financial institution, Harbor Bank, also provided a significant proportion of the project’s financing.



Marriott Owings Mills Metro Centre
David S. Brown Enterprises, Ltd.

Thoughtfully located within Baltimore County’s only Transit Oriented Development, the Marriott Owings Mills Metro Centre is both a destination for travelers and locals, and an exceptional work of architecture.The hotel offers 229 guest rooms and suites, a full-service Starbucks, an innovative American restaurant (The Tillery) and 15,000 square feet of upscale meeting space, designed to host conferences, meetings, weddings and other events.

The hotel combines functionality with luxury. Drawing inspiration from art galleries, the corridors contain curated masterpieces, including paintings by world-renowned, contemporary artist Frank Stella and sculptures commissioned from French American artist Raphaele Shirley.

Marriott Owings Mills Metro Centre is the only hotel in Baltimore County to receive a Four Diamond Award from the American Automobile Association.