The future of the Howard Hughes building is once again unclear. The iconic former headquarters of the Rouse Company, designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, was rumored to be a future home of a Whole Foods supermarket.
But last week, an unidentified Howard Hughes official said negotiations between the company and Whole Foods ended without a deal, according to an article in Explore Howard. The article noted just 13 employees currently use the three-level building, which is 150,00-square-feet and can hold up to 650 people.
So it begs the question, how could the building be used?
With Wegmans opening this summer, is a grocery store still a reality? Would standard offices be too ho-hum for the unique structure?
Duane St. Clair at HoCo Connect asked similar questions of readers in a recent blog post. St. Clair wondered if it would be a good fit for the Columbia Association, whose lease expires at the end of August 2015. The association currently pays about $520,000 a year for the space it leases at 10221 Wincopin Circle, according to a February Explore Howard article.
Kelly Cooper, a spokesperson for the CA, said in an email they have taked with Howard Hughes Corp. about the building, "but nothing has advanced past the talking stage." She said they are looking at several buildings in hopes of finding more floor space at a reasonable cost.
"We hope to come to some conclusions during this or next year," said Cooper.
Other than the CA, St. Clair also threw out some other ideas for the space, such as a children’s museum, science center or a new version of the Columbia Visitor’s Center.
John DeWolf, a senior vice president for Howard Hughes, told Explore Howard the building needs about $20 million in base building improvements, but that the structure has potential and could accommodate a variety of uses.
What do you think would be the best use for the Howard Hughes building?