Student apartments to be built near Statehouse in Columbia

06/12/2014 10:47 PM

06/12/2014 10:48 PM

A private student housing project planned just blocks from the University of South Carolina Horseshoe will feature 848 beds, five-bedroom suites, private parking and street-level retail.

The latest entry into downtown’s burgeoning student housing market will be two glass-covered towers 12-stories high, with a theater, fitness center and rooftop pool.

It will be situated along Assembly, Pendleton and Park streets, across Assembly from the Statehouse, with suites ranging from one- to five-bedrooms. USC’s Horsehoe – the core of the school’s older campus – is on the opposite side of the Statehouse.

Construction could begin as soon as next spring on the $60 million, 435,000-square-foot complex, named University SC Tower, according to Paul Levine of the Park 7 development group, a Manhattan-based firm also responsible for a planned 640-bed student housing complex along Blossom Street.

It could open sometime in 2017, he said. Street-level retail space – a first for student housing complexes in Columbia – will be located along Pendleton Street.

The number of beds makes The Tower smaller only than The Hub, set to open along Main Street in August, and USC’s private-public housing complex being built behind the Carolina Coliseum and the new Moore School of Business.

The city’s Design/Development Review Commission on Thursday approved site and design plans for the project.

The addition of a multi-use residential and retail space is just what the city has had in mind for the development of the downtown area, said Fred Delk, director of the city’s Columbia Development Corp.

The University SC Tower project already has been approved for a 10-year, 50 percent property tax cut designed to lure large student housing complexes to the city. It’s one of three complexes along the edges of the Vista that will receive the unusual tax break created by Richland County at the request of Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin.

Situated along the heavily traveled and recently renovated Assembly Street, the apartments are not likely to significantly increase the amount of peak-hour vehicle traffic, according to a traffic impact analysis submitted to the city. Most of the residents’ trips are likely to be a combination of walking, bicycling and university shuttle , according to the report.

Nearly 3,200 apartments aimed at students are planned in the corridor between Assembly and Huger streets. University SC Tower joins a boom of student housing developments with multiple amenities cropping up near USC’s campus, including:

• The Hub, an 850-bed complex in the former Palmetto Center along Main Street that is to open in August.
• An Edwards Communities development with 700 beds flanking the Palmetto Compress warehouse near Huger and Blossom streets.
• The 919-bed project being built by USC and Holder Properties behind the Carolina Coliseum, the only project that is entirely tax exempt.

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