Community, government, industry, and Enterprise leaders celebrate the grand opening of Legacy at Twin Rivers.

Last month, Alemseged Desta and his family returned home. 

Desta recently addressed a crowd of hundreds celebrating two important milestones: the ribbon cutting for the redeveloped Legacy at Twin Rivers, a mixed-income, multifamily community in Columbia, Maryland – the city Enterprise founder Jim Rouse created – and Enterprise’s creation of one million homes. This theme of legacy—of community, continuity, and commitment—was embraced in the naming of Desta’s new home, and by everyone gathered for the occasion.  

While Desta’s apartment is brand new, the site is familiar. After immigrating to Columbia from Ethiopia, he moved there with his family in 2018 when it was Roslyn Rise, an aging complex built in the 1960s. His family temporarily relocated while the new development was under construction. Now, they’re back home in a new four-bedroom apartment. 

I'm a father of four, and I'm very pleased to be here. We [thank you] for bringing us back to where we belong.

Alemseged Desta

Alemseged Desta is a resident at Twin Rivers
Alemseged Desta, a resident of Legacy at Twin Rivers, speaks at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

This theme of legacy—of community, continuity, and commitment—was a throughline for the celebration. “We purposefully chose this name to mark the legacy of Enterprise founder Jim Rouse and his vision for Columbia as an economically, socially, and racially diverse [community] in a leafy, walkable environment,” said Christine Madigan, interim president of Enterprise Community Development, owner and operator of the property.

And we celebrate the legacies yet to come, the legacies of the people who will call this beautiful community home," said Shaun Donovan, Enterprise's CEO and president. " [Home is] what you're able to build—not just for yourself, but for your kids and their kids with your neighbors for decades to come."

Legacy at Twin Rivers brings 153 new apartments to Columbia, along with ample amenities and community spaces.
Legacy at Twin Rivers brings 153 new apartments to Columbia, along with ample amenities and community spaces.

Desta, Madigan, and Donovan were joined at the podium by Adrianne Todman, acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Janet Curry, market president of Bank of America, a key project funder; Mackenzie Kissel, an Enterprise senior real estate development manager who helped lead the project; and other industry leaders with deep connections to the property, Columbia, and Enterprise. 

Secretary Todman recognized the significance of Enterprise’s one million homes milestone. “I want to congratulate this extraordinary organization that's called Enterprise on the enterprising things you all have done, and what you have taught so many others of us who are students of this organization's work—and I called myself one of those students,” she said. 

For Dr. Calvin Ball, the first Black executive of Howard County and a 20-year resident of Columbia, the ribbon cutting was a poignant intersection of the personal and professional. His father, an admirer of Rouse’s vision for racial equity, brought their family to Columbia for community events throughout his childhood. When Ball got married, he knew it was where he wanted to live and work. 

He recalled leading a payment pilot for Legacy at Twin Rivers with the county council in the fall of 2021—the same time he lost his father, “my greatest hero, my best friend.” This legacy was his, too, he said. 

“This is the legacy for all of the people who lifted us up on their shoulders,” Ball said.

After the program, speakers cut the red ribbon, then joined a curated tour of the property: outdoor patios; an indoor community space with comfortable seating, tables, a big-screen television, and a kitchen; and a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit. 

Acting HUD Sec Todman at Twin Rivers
HUD Acting Secretary Adrianne Todman, resident Alemseged Desta, and Enterprise CEO and President Shaun Donovan.

As Donovan celebrated Enterprise’s milestone, he called upon staff and other attendees to keep their sleeves rolled up for the work ahead. “We also use this as an opportunity to learn from what we've done and do even more as we look forward to the future,” he said. “We are at a critical moment in our nation's history—a country where the notions of home and belonging have always been a struggle.”

“A million homes is a spectacular beginning,” Donovan added. “But it is just a beginning.”

Legacy at Twin Rivers is home to 153 accessible or “visitable” apartments serving mixed-income population, with 14 units specifically set aside for residents with disabilities. For more information on the community’s features and financing, read the press release.