A top Howard Hughes official says the development company plans to focus on attracting business to the Crescent area in Downtown Columbia.
The development will transform the open space area to the west and south of Merriweather Post Pavilion into a network of buildings.
Developers detailed land use plans at a pre-submission community event on Monday night and then John DeWolfe, vice president of development for Howard Hughes, talked more about the project on Tuesday.
"Our mantra is to execute the [downtown] plan," said DeWolfe. "To read the description of the plan, this was always going to be the employment center."
"We want to find a big employer for downtown," said DeWolfe.
The company's preliminary plan is to develop area 1 and area 2 first, which both lie to the west of Merriweather and border Little Patuxent Parkway and Broken Land Parkway.
The company plans to build 490 residential units; 34,500 square feet of retail space; 750,000 square feet of office space and a 300 room hotel in the area.
DeWolfe said the residential space would provide places for workers to live and retail would serve the needs of the new workforce.
"We already have a regional mall," said DeWolfe. "We don't really need to duplicate that, so we're going to compliment it."
He said Howard Hughes plans to use a new parking structure being built for the development as parking for events at Merriweather as well. Howard Hughes owns Merriweather Post Pavilion.
He said he has no concerns about music from the concert venue disrupting tenants in the new development.
"Some of the best office space is in New York City and it's pretty noisy there," said DeWolfe.
As for the construction schedule, DeWolfe said it will probably take another year to navigate the development process for areas 1 and 2. Then he hopes they'll be able to start construction on new roads through the area in either late 2014 or in 2015.
DeWolfe said if they can find tenants for the buildings being developed in areas 1 and 2, they'll begin the design process for areas 3 and 4.
Open space in the new development is represented by the green shaded areas. DeWolfe called it "significant" and added that "we want green space and vistas... we don't want to rebuild New York."
Structures in areas 1 and 2 can be built up to 15 stories and DeWolfe confirmed that's how high they plan to construct buildings.
Howard Hughes is the primary developer behind the Metropolitan Downtown Columbia, a mixed-use apartment and retail building under construction across from Sears at The Mall in Columbia. Construction on that $100 million building is expected to be completed in 2014.