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The Impact of New Business on the Vista District

9:03 PM, Mar 1, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Clothing retailer Urban Outfitters has announced plans to open a permanent location in Columbia's Vista district.

From once a commercial railroad terminal and cotton warehouse district, Columbia's Vista now has more than 60 restaurants and 40 art galleries.

"We really want to highlight the fact that the vista, twenty years ago, was a warehouse district," said Sarah Lewis, Executive Director of The Vista Guild.

With Friday's announcement of the Vista's newest retail store Urban Outfitters, experts believe the economy of the 2013 vista will only continue to strengthen.

"I don't think people realize the vista see's over two million visitors annually and that's just tourists," said Lewis.

Lewis says there's currently more than $100 Million dollars in investments going into the vista. The Vista will soon see a new USC alumni center, a 200 bed Hyatt hotel, and chipotle restaurant.

"We are more Urban. We are higher density. It just really creates that real city feel that we are trying to create."

When it comes to tax dollars, the vista brings in the second most among the rest of Columbia's major hospitality hotspots. In 2011 the vista's 2% food and drink tax brought in more than two million dollars for the city of Columbia.

"You add the current development and that number will multiply. It absolutely will."

And if you have noticed construction in the vista, Lewis says they are expanding sidewalks for pedestrians while at the same time hoping to decrease speeding traffic.

"It gives us an opportunity to put some tables and chairs out there on the weekend and create that market urban feel."

While Lewis believes the economy of the vista will continue to thrive in 2013, she's not giving any hints on the next store or restaurant to call the vista home

"I would say, keep your eye out. There is defiantly some more interest. There are more available spaces."

Urban Outfitters plans to open this July.

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