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Old July 25th, 2007, 10:06 PM   #541
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Yeah, the design is pretty classy. At first I wished it was a bit snazzier, but being that it's located in a historic district, it had to be contextual, and it does a good job of that. I only wish that it could have been a little taller (it's 8 stories) with more rooms. But other than that, I really do like it. The developer does great work and also developed a Hampton Inn just around the corner from this one.
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Old July 26th, 2007, 06:11 AM   #542
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I think that a hotel around 15 stories would have been ideal, particularly for "overwhelming" the parking deck. Even so, the hotel looks really elegant to me. Great addition to your city
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Old July 26th, 2007, 04:00 PM   #543
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Yeah, 15 stories would have been nice, but the hotel had to get clearance just for 8 stories, as it is located in a historic district. Ten stories was probably pushing it.
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Old July 26th, 2007, 04:16 PM   #544
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So, we are talking about low-rise historic area Someday we'll have to discuss historic areas consisted of mid-to-high-rises
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Old July 27th, 2007, 04:28 AM   #545
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raleigh-NC View Post
So, we are talking about low-rise historic area Someday we'll have to discuss historic areas consisted of mid-to-high-rises
That's my kind of historic district, Raleigh!
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Old July 27th, 2007, 05:49 AM   #546
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Hey, 50 years down the road many of the taller buildings in Columbia will be called historic Seriously, though, big cities can easily demonstrate areas with taller historic buildings, but in our cities such structures are not found in abundance The only thing I see feasible these days is to build elegant buildings with historic look - except, make them taller (10 stories and above) - and hope they will last long enough to be labelled "historic" some day.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 08:49 AM   #547
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USC seeks rezoning to expand Innovista
University wants 141 acres available to move forward on research campus

By JIM HAMMOND and JEFF WILKINSON - jhammond@thestate.com, jwilkinson@thestate.com


These businesses on Huger Street are in the area that would be zoned for mixed use instead
of present light industrial.


USC wants the city of Columbia to rezone more than 100 acres in the Vista — land the school doesn’t own — to speed up the growth of its downtown research campus and spawn surrounding shops, restaurants and housing.

Sasaki Associates, USC’s planning consultants, said it would like City Council to enact a single zoning change for 141 acres of the 500-acre Innovista research campus by the end of the year.

Backers of USC’s plans say a single zoning change would save time and money. Rezoning the land parcel by parcel could take years and years — and cost plenty in legal fees, they say.

The rezoning would remove one of the largest obstacles for owners seeking to transform old industrial sites into a new urban landscape — a place where residents can live and play in the same neighborhood where they work.

But the type of rezoning that USC wants also is a move rarely used in Columbia.

City Council has the power to enact what’s called “blanket” rezoning. And council can change a property’s zoning without the owner’s consent. But enacting such a sweeping land-use change over the objections of multiple property owners would be out of character for City Council, Mayor Bob Coble said.

“That’s not the way we do business,” Coble said. “You can rezone without property owners’ permission, but I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and cause controversy.

“We would really have to understand (the ramifications of the blanket rezoning), and the property owners would have to be supportive.”

At stake is how quickly USC and others can build a “city within a city” for researchers and support personnel who would work at the campus, as well as others from around the Midlands who want to live downtown.

Lee Bussell, chief executive of the Chernoff Newman public relations firm and a member of USC’s Waterfront Steering Committee, which is guiding the project, said City Council ultimately will have to make a “political decision” on whether to proceed.

Bussell said the USC/Sasaki proposal does not call for any “government taking” — the forced sale of private property or a perceived diminishing of its value.

“The group that is pushing this is all private business people,” said Bussell, who is representing USC on Innovista matters. “We don’t like the concept of taking. We want to see (the campus) be successful, but we don’t want to do it through takings. That’s not a philosophy we ascribe to.”

Sixteen months ago, USC president Andrew Sorensen and representatives of the Guignard family unveiled Sasaki’s plans for the 500-acre zone stretching from Assembly Street west to the Congaree River, and from Gervais Street south to Blossom Street. The zone — west of the school’s main campus — later was expanded to include the tract south of Blossom where USC is building a baseball stadium.

USC and the Guignards are the largest landowners in the area. But they own only about 40 percent of the property. The university’s plan also would require buy-in from about 250 other property owners who control 60 percent of the land.

Last week, Sasaki planners met with about 50 property owners to brief them on USC’s plans and the exchange of ideas already under way with city planners.

Richard Galehouse, Sasaki’s principal planner for Innovista, said many property owners were initially skeptical of the change.

But those who have spoken up since “see the advantage” of a one-time zoning change, Galehouse said, and think USC’s plans will make the area more attractive to developers.

The steel fabrication yards that dotted the Vista landscape a decade ago are gone. Only a few light industrial, distribution and manufacturing businesses remain.

USC wants to encourage the spread of the Vista’s new condos and shops. And it thinks blanket zoning would speed the process.

Existing businesses would be protected under the change. Businesses that are considered “industrial” or “light industrial” could continue to operate, even under new ownership, as long as operations continue uninterrupted. But no new industrial uses could move in.

Ben Arnold, who owns 10 acres in Innovista, thinks a blanket rezoning would save him the time and money involved in getting the city to rezone land a parcel at a time. And more flexible zoning for the area would benefit everyone, Arnold said.

“In this process, you don’t always get what you want,” he said, but he believes the planning process will increase property values and re-enforce market forces already at play.

“It’s about time,” he said. “If this is done right, it could really open this town to more development.”

No property owners have objected yet to the idea of a blanket zoning.

But not everyone is pleased.

Developer Don Tomlin said when USC announced its master plan, land prices soared, putting Innovista land out of reach for some developers. Tomlin said a block he wanted to buy doubled in price — from $2.7 million to $6.5 million — causing him to put his plans on hold.

And, he said, requiring property owners to go before city boards and conform to the Sasaki plan also would make development more expensive and therefore slower, rather than faster.

“It gives false hope to landowners that they will receive windfall prices,” Tomlin said. “It may take a decade or two for that land to be absorbed by developers at those prices.”

But Bussell said the rezoning would protect current landowners. Their investments could be at risk under the current hodgepodge of industrial and commercial zoning if a neighboring property owner built something out of character with the emerging neighborhood, he said. “Someone could come in there right now and build an incinerator.”

City staff are uncertain how the blanket zoning could be best enacted — whether through a zoning overlay, design guidelines or a planned-unit development designation.

“We’re wrestling with it,” said city planning director Chip Land. “There needs to be a process to work with

the property owners to determine the best way to implement the master plan.”

The USC/Sasaki zoning proposal affects 141 acres between the river and the Colonial Center. Most of the 500-acre Innovista between the Colonial Center and Assembly Street already has zoning compatible with the master plan. Most of the affected land east of the Vista’s railroad track is owned by the city or the university. Most of the affected private property owners are west of the tracks, close to Huger Street.

ABOUT SASAKI

The Boston-based firm is USC’s planning consultant for its Innovista research campus

Sasaki Associates supplied the planning expertise for Charleston’s waterfront park and for the redevelopment of downtown Greenville around the Reedy River Falls.

The firm has a national track record for helping create new mixed residential and business zones in old cities, especially areas around previously underutilized water features.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 08:56 AM   #548
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Neighbors question riverfront park plan
They fear the project on Guignard family land would ruin the area’s natural features

By JEFF WILKINSON - jwilkinson@thestate.com

The 74-acre, $77 million riverfront park planned on Guignard family land would be the “crown jewel” of the waterfront district of shops, homes and offices that is planned by USC, boosters say.

But some neighbors are complaining they were left out of the planning process and the heavily landscaped park would destroy the area’s natural features.

“At the risk of sounding flip, I see it as an Albert Speer, Nuremburg-style, public space,” said Bob Guild, president of the nearbyGranby Neighborhood Association, referring to the architect of Nazi Germany’s largest public building projects.

“It ain’t natural or human — it’s monumental,” said Guild, an environmental attorney. “It looks like the mall at Washington, D.C., rather than the banks of the Congaree River.”

The Innovista Waterfront Steering Committee and the university’s consultants, Boston-based Sasaki Associates, said the planning process for the park is continuing.

Backers will have to land federal grants to pay for the park. Tree, archaeological and topographical studies will be required to qualify for those grants.

Planners will continue to seek input from the public, tweaking the plan as they go, they said.

“We’re going to work with Bob Guild, the (Granby) neighborhood and anyone else who wants to weigh in,” said Bill Boyd, waterfront committee chairman.

Boyd said the state’s congressional delegation is behind the effort and is working to include the park in the next round of federal grants awarded through the Water Resource Development Act.

Guild and others say they are concerned about plans for:

• The “hardening” of large sections of the riverbank near the Blossom Street bridge with stone or concrete to create a Charleston Battery-style wall

• The “daylighting,” or opening, of the old Columbia Canal because it will not follow the actual route of the canal, Guild said. “It’s counterfeit and cartoonish.”

• The clear-cutting of a large swath of trees from the top of the bluff to the riverbank in a series of descending terraces along Blossom Street

• Turning natural wetlands in the center of the property into a concrete-ringed “tidal basin”

• Clear-cutting more trees near the basin for an amphitheater

What Guild and others said they liked were plans to:

• Build a Congaree River Parkway at the top of the bluff to enhance land along Huger Street for mixed-use development

• Designate a hotel and other development for the north side of the park near Gervais Street on the part of the land that has been most disturbed by man

• Remove power lines from the property to build a hiking, jogging and biking trail that would be an extension of the Three Rivers Greenway

Guild said the university should have asked what neighbors and the community wanted prior to developing the design. A “charette” — or intensive series of public meetings — like that held prior to redesigning the city’s old State Hospital campus would have been helpful, he said.

“The university always does things from the top down, and it always comes back to bite them,” Guild said. “If this is the vision of the community, that’s all well and good, but the community wasn’t asked.”

Sasaki principal consultant Dick Galehouse said the land is private, owned by the Guignard family — not the university’s or the public’s.

“It’s an error of interpretation on his part,” he said. “It’s not supposed to be a state park. It’s not supposed to be a path through the woods. It’s an urban park.”

But, Galehouse said, changes can be made as the process moves along. “They shouldn’t kill the baby before it’s born.”

However, Guild said millions of tax dollars will be used to build the park, making it a public project.

“The riverine forest along the Congaree is our backyard,” he said. “These eminent and wonderful planners have missed an opportunity to protect and enhance that forest because they didn’t ask the people who know and love this resource the most.”

To see a brief snapshot of plans for the new riverfront park, click here, then click on "Waterfront Park" on the left side of the map.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 09:24 PM   #549
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In my opinion. it would be acceptable in an urban area to convert that property in a park. It isn't like the trees will be mowed down for a strip mall, they will be converted into a different type of green area, which the public can use. For years, the Congaree River in downtown Columbia has been virtually inaccessable to the average citizen, except further north in Riverfront Park. It would be wonderful to have a large amphitheatre overlooking the river with an unobstructed view. I'm sorry some residents of the Granby Mill Village don't want other city residents "invading" their area, but they are being selfish in wanting to keep everyone else from partaking in the beauty of the Congaree.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 11:49 PM   #550
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You echo my sentiments 200%.

Put all of that into a letter to the editor at The State newspaper. Seriously.
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Old July 30th, 2007, 06:36 AM   #551
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Look at how many trees will still remain. What are they complaining about???
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Old July 30th, 2007, 03:14 PM   #552
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You can't please everyone. There will always be people who fight against nice projects. Hopefully, the vast majority of the decision makers will see the massive potential and continue making progress on this project. Speaking for me, the more I read about Innovista, the more I like it. A city needs every element possible: the organic, the sterile, the monumental, the random, the natural... Every element in urban development contributes to making a city a livable place. I do not advocate over-sterilized communities/neighborhoods, but most new projects will feel sterile and monumental. Just my 2 cents.
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Old July 30th, 2007, 07:15 PM   #553
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^Just about anything new will feel that way. Cities are products of time and change.
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Old July 30th, 2007, 08:22 PM   #554
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Any way we can get those NIMBY's and pseudo-preservationists to understand that?
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Old July 30th, 2007, 09:03 PM   #555
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Easier said than done. I think the fact that a lot of the trees will remain intact in this park will lessen the sterile effect. Just having those sweeping vistas of the river should more than compensate for any sterile feeling that one might get.
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Old July 31st, 2007, 12:36 AM   #556
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bob guild sounds like a moronic hippy redneck...the type that keeps cities from developing. he's overlooking plenty of "natural" waterfront left just down the river, and accessible from the riverwalk.

anyway, i was in town the past few days visiting the gf and other friends. i didn't take many pics (she did with my camera although the weather was crappy,) but i liked seeing the progress: adesso and the research buildings and no more towers has completely transformed that block...wow. the work on the mccrory looks like it's coming along, and the sheraton and hilton are finishing up (i want to try them out!)

anyway, i miss columbia already (again.)

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Old July 31st, 2007, 03:05 AM   #557
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At one time it looked like the McCrory building was at a standstill, but I saw evidence of inside progress last time I rolled down Main. Hopefully we'll see exterior progress begin soon.
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Old July 31st, 2007, 03:14 AM   #558
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Krazee can't get no satisfaction.
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Old July 31st, 2007, 07:08 AM   #559
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I'm going to try and see if I can run through all of the developments in the city that have recently been completed (within the past year), are under construction, or are planned/proposed. I know I'm going to miss some though, because there are so many. The residential developments are detailed in the first post of the Columbia Residential Developments thread.

Recently completed
• 1520 Main (condos)
• Marriott Courtyard renovations
• Barringer Building conversion (apartments on Main)
• 1537 Main Street renovations (historic storefront, Argyle Social Club)
• Convention center parking garage
• Gervais Place (renovation of 3-story structure for Starbucks/office space)
• Whaley Row (townhome development)
• Carolina Walk (gameday condos)
• The Spur at Williams Brice (gameday condos)
• Stadium Village Lofts (gameday condos)
• The Gates at Williams-Brice (gameday condos; not sure if they're totally done yet, but if not they are close)
• The GranDevine (conversion of old Schneider School into condos)
• 62-acre South East Park
• Five Points streetscaping project
• Lady Street streetscaping project
• Benedict College football stadium

Under construction
• Horizon Block (part of USC's research campus)
• Biomedical Block/Discovery Plaza (part of USC's research campus)
• Adesso (midrise condo development)
• The SC Honors College complex at USC
• Gallery 701 building renovations (old mill village community center becoming mixed-use structure)
• Hilton convention center hotel (will open in about one week)
• 1556 Main renovations (old McCrory's building becoming mixed-use structure)
• Palmetto Building conversion (into a boutique Sheraton)
• Keenan Fountain installation (at Boyd Plaza in front of art museum on Main)
• Shoppes at Lady Street (reuse/new construction--restaurant and retail)
• 10-unit townhome development in Arsenal Hill neighborhood downtown
• Shandon Square (single-family residential development in Old Shandon neighborhood)
• Hampton Forest (townhome development)
• Palmetto Baptist Hospital expansion
• CanalSide (new residential neighborhood)
• Lowrise office building at Huger and Taylor
• City Club (upscale townhome development)
• USC ballpark
• Battery at Arsenal Hill (residential development in downtown neighborhood)
• Rosewood Hills (residential development)
• Killian Crossing (400-acre mixed use development)
• Village at Sandhill (first phase or two complete, condos under construction)
• Vsion condos (renovations of 8-story structure, with addition of two stories)
• Olympia Mill conversion (into condos)
• Hotel at Two Notch and I-77 (may be finished at this point)
• Wheat Street streetscaping
• USC biomass plant
• Lofts at Bower Commons
• Olympia single family homes

Planned/proposed
• Bull Street development (new New Urbanist neighborhood downtown)
• Downtown garden district
• Parking garage/4-story commercial structure at Lady and Lincoln streets
• New 74 acre riverfront park
• Kline Steel project (mixed-use development downtown)
• Lofts at Printer's Square (8-unit upscale condo development)
• Old Fire Department HQ's renovation (condo development)
• Center Vista (5-story mixed use building)
• Midrise mixed-use project in Five Points
• New Five Points linear fountain
• Main Street streetscaping (2nd phase)
• North Main streetscaping
• East Gervais streetscaping
• Retail/restaurant mixed-use complex in Olympia neighborhood
• Palmetto Compress and Warehouse renovations (conversion of old warehouse into condos)
• Congaree Pointe (new 106 acre mixed-use neighorhood south of downtown)
• Staybridge Suites (at Huger and Richland streets downtown)
• Extended stay hotel on Lady Street (I forget which brand)
• Lowrise office building at Huger and Lady
• Convention center/two midrange hotels along Garners Ferry Road
• Upscale extended-stay hotel on Two Notch Road near I-77
• CanalFront (small park behind children's museum along the riverbank)
• Saluda River greenway extension
• Hotel at Benedict College
• New farmers market
• The Retreat (140 student cottages)
• Rosewood Commons (20-unit upscale townhome development)
• 37-unit brownstone development on Pulaski Street in the Vista
• 3-story neoclassical office building at Pulaski and Hampton
• 98-acre mixed-use development at I-20 and SC 277 along Farrow Road
• Mixed-use development at Assembly and Whaley
• Two downtown parking garages (exact locations undetermined)
• USC School of Law
• Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church new sanctuary on Main
• Richland County Courthouse
• 6,000-seat minor league hockey arena (a few miles from DT in Lexington County)

I know I forgot some stuff, but I'm tired, LOL. Waccamatt, the rest is up to you.
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Old July 31st, 2007, 07:22 AM   #560
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Greenville is on the right.
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