Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Drastic changes could be coming to Columbia's skyline in the Congaree Vista.
The new development would boast two 28 story towers which would feature retail space and apartments aimed at students. It would also include a swimming pool, an open plaza, and recreational areas.
"I think that the more options you have available for people, the more it's going to to draw them into your area," says Susan Hoke, a Vista business owner. She just recently opened her boutique on Lincoln Street. "We just felt like with the economic growth that was slated for the Vista it was a good location and a good time for us to be here," she says.
That could be the same sentiment echoed a few years into the future if a proposed development is built on the block between Devine and Blossom Streets near the Colonial Center. The towers, proposed by a private developer, would have apartments, parking, retail and a 600-seat auditorium.
The 640 apartments would be for students, but USC wouldn't own the building proposed for this parking lot right here. While they don't think it'll affect students wanting their housing, the 36,000 square feet of retail space could affect Columbia's economy.
"I hope it'll be good, maybe it'll create some jobs for kids trying to make extra money for tuition," says restaurant employee Anthony Anderson. He works at a restaurant in the Vista, he's seen the economy's effect on others and hopes the new building could change it. "It's pretty rough on a lot of people so hopefully it'll get better with jobs and extra money being made around the city and stuff like that," he says.
There are some with reservations, like resident Christopher Kimble. "I think the building being 28 stories high may be a little out of place," but he adds, "I think the benefit to the economy is gonna better outweigh that."
Right now, the property is owned by the City of Columbia, so the developer would have to buy it from them and it would have to be rezoned.
Columbia's Design Development Review Commission was scheduled to hear information about the plans at their meeting Tuesday, but the presentation was postponed by the developer. The commission expects to hear from him at their May meeting instead.