More than 450 developers, commercial real estate professionals and other business leaders heard a rousing endorsement of opportunities in Downtown Columbia and Maple Lawn at an event held in the transformed former Rouse Company Building Nov. 17.

The event was named “Howard County BOOM!, and speakers unanimously enthused about the redevelopment and urbanization of Downtown Columbia by The Howard Hughes Corp. (HHC) and the development of Maple Lawn by Greenebaum Enterprises.

Hosted by Bisnow, the digital media company that produces news and live events, and presented by HHC, the gathering featured remarks by Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman, who exhorted the crowd to join other investors in Howard County.

The keynote interview with Kingdon Gould, Jr., long-time area businessman, by HHC Senior Vice President John DeWolf, included a recollection of Columbia’s origins, as well as instances of Gould’s self-proclaimed “good luck” in being 90 years old, marrying a woman to whom he is still married, having nine children and buying property on both sides of Route 95, among other successes in a long life.

Panelists included executives from HHC, Kettler, Orchard Development, Manekin, St. John Properties, Greenebaum Enterprises, First Potomac Realty Trust, Kimco and Merritt Properties.