The Rouse Company

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The Rouse Company
Former type Commercial Real Estate Development
Predecessors Moss-Rouse Company
Successors General Growth Properties Inc., The Howard Hughes Corporation (2010)
Defunct 2004
Key people James Rouse, Melvin J. Berman, Hunter Moss, Churchill Gibson Carey
Subsidiaries The American City Corporation, Howard Research and Development, Community Research and Development

The Rouse Company, founded by Hunter Moss and James W. Rouse in 1939, was a publicly held shopping mall and community developer from 1956 until 2004, when General Growth Properties Inc. purchased the company.

Beginnings - Moss-Rouse Company[edit]

The Moss-Rouse Company was founded as a FHA mortgage company with a loan from Hunter Moss's sister. Rouse leveraged his knowledge as loan guarantee specialist at the Federal Housing Administration to establish a Baltimore-based mortgage company specializing in FHA backed loans. Moss-Rouse hired a WWII Navy friend hired Churchill G. Carey from Connecticut General, who in turn provided capital for future projects. Carey would hold positions ranging from president to CEO of the mortgage company subsidiary.[1] In 1952-1953 the company built one of the first modern architecture office buildings on Saratoga Street in Baltimore while also dropping it's commercial lending business line. Jim Rouse hired his brother, brother in 1952 and partner Hunter Moss phased out of operations selling his shares of the company while remaining temporarily on the board of directors.[2] The firm was renamed the James W. Rouse Company with Rouse owning 50% equity, His brother Willard 10%, and 40% to company officers.[3]

The James W. Rouse Company[edit]

The Rouse Company built some of the first enclosed shopping malls, and it pioneered the development of festival marketplaces, such as Jacksonville Landing in Jacksonville, Faneuil Hall in Boston, South Street Seaport in New York City, Waterside in Norfolk, Harborplace in Baltimore, and Bayside Marketplace in Miami. They also developed The Shops at National Place in downtown Washington, D.C. that opened in 1984-85.

The company has also been credited as the pioneer of the first successful food court in an enclosed shopping mall, when the food court at the Sherway Mall in Toronto opened for business in 1971. It followed an unsuccessful attempt at the Plymouth Meeting Mall in 1968, which reportedly failed because it was "deemed too small and insufficiently varied."

The Company Moved its headquarters to the Cross Keys development, then to the project at Columbia Maryland in December 1969.[4]

Its community projects include the Village of Cross Keys in Baltimore and the planned cities of Columbia, Maryland (where it was headquartered), Bridgeland Community, Texas, and Summerlin, Nevada.

Columbia Research and Development was founded as a publicly held company and Howard Research and Development was formed as a Rouse subsidiary in 1956 to raise capital for four mall projects and later to facilitate the Columbia Project with Connecticut General and Chase Manhattan as stakeholder with interest deferred loans.[5] In 1966 The James W Rouse Company was restructured as the Rouse Company, adding Howard Research and Development (HRD) as a separate entity shielded Rouse Corporation from debt liability of the Columbia development. HRD lost money, with new rules affecting the parent company as well. In 1974, HRD was refinanced.[6] Columbia Development Corporation was formed a subsidiary of HRD using subcontracted Rouse Company employees. In 1985 CIGNA (Connecticut General) divested its interest in HRD and the project back to Rouse for $120 million at a net loss.[7][8]

Rouse created the subsidiary company The American City Corporation to take advantage of the National Urban Policy and New Community Development Act of 1970, A HUD program which granted developers incentives and loans to build Title VII "New Towns" with mandatory percentages of low income housing projects.[9][10] "Two Wincopin" was the second office building in Columbia built in 1968. It was renamed to the American City Building using the subsidiary to lease the empty space and develop the system of Public-Private partnerships that Rouse would use worldwide to minimize risk in developments using public debt.[11] The business was given its own postal office, the American Cities Station in 1977.[12]

In 1973, the former assistant attorney general of Maryland Mathias J. Devito leaves the Rouse owned legal firm of Piper Marbury to replace James W. Rouse as President of the Rouse Company, with Rouse becoming Chairman of the Board.[13]

In 1986, former General manager of Columbia and executive vice president of development Micheal Spear became president as a successor to Rouse. August 1990, Spears died in a crash with his wife and one daughter in his Piper PA-31T Cheyenne attempting a single engine missed approach near Logan International Airport.[14][15]

In 1996, The Howard Hughes Corporation, which had extensive property and other business interests, became a subsidiary. On November 12, 2004, the Rouse Company was sold to Chicago-based General Growth Properties Inc., another shopping mall developer.[16]

In 2012, General Growth Properties spun off 30 malls into a new real estate investment trust, Rouse Properties.[17]

Company Projects[edit]

See Also[edit]


  1. ^ The Baltimore Sun. 5 April 2008. 
  2. ^ Paul Marx. Jim Rouse: Capitalist/idealist. p. 39. 
  3. ^ Joseph Rocco Mitchell, David L. Stebenne. A New City Upon a Hill. p. 47. 
  4. ^ "Columbia's first 25 years: a chronology". Baltimore Sun. 14 June 1992. 
  5. ^ "The Story that Changed a County". The Times. 31 March 1965. 
  6. ^ William H Jones (16 August 1975). "Refinancing Completed For Columbia Planner". The Washington Post. 
  7. ^ Joshua Olsen. Better Places, Better Lives. p. 237. 
  8. ^ Caroline A Mayer (31 May 1985). "Rouse to Buy Out Columbia Partner: To Gain Complete Control Over Future Development of Planned Community". The Washington Post. 
  9. ^ The American City Corporation (January 1971). Urban Life In New and Renewing Communities. 
  10. ^ Paul Marx. Jim Rouse: Capitalist/idealist. p. 160. 
  11. ^ Burke, Missy; Emrich, Robin; Kellner, Barbara (2008). Oh, You must live in Columbia. Columbia, Maryland: Columbia Archives. p. 113. 
  12. ^ "Checklist of Maryland Post Offices". Smithsonian National Postal Museum. Retrieved 17 May 2014. 
  13. ^ "DeVito is new president of the Rouse Company". The Baltimore Sun. 9 March 1973. 
  14. ^ "Plane Crash Kills Head Of Firm That Developed Westlake Center". The Seattle Times. 25 August 1990. 
  15. ^ "NTSB report NYC90FA199". Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  16. ^ "Over 50 Years of Experience". General Growth Properties. Retrieved 2009-12-09. [dead link]
  17. ^ Information Package. Rep. Rouse Properties, 21 Aug. 2011.
  18. ^ Joseph Rocco Mitchell, David L. Stebenne. A New City Upon a Hill. p. 47. 
  19. ^ House & Home: 148. May 1953. 
  20. ^ Dickson. Talbot County. p. 339. 
  21. ^ Paul Marx. Jim Rouse: Capitalist idealist. p. 91. 
  22. ^ Barry Maitland. The new architecture of the retail mall. p. 148. 

External links[edit]