New tower in plans for Columbia skyline

COLUMBIA -- Columbia's skyline is set to get another boost.

Holder Properties of Atlanta plans to build a 19-story office tower at the high-profile corner of Main and Gervais streets.

The site is across the street from the S.C. Statehouse and next to the 25-story Capitol Center, the state's tallest building.

Plans filed with the city show a restaurant and bank lobby on the first floor, with seven levels of parking above. Above that would be 10 stories of offices.

The $60 million tower would be built on the parking lot next to the National Bank of South Carolina building at Main and Lady streets. The plaza next to the Capitol Center (formerly the SouthTrust building) would remain. Holder owns the land.

The building, which has yet to be named, will be the company's fourth project downtown.

"We've made a commitment to Columbia," said president and CEO John Holder, whose firm has built projects in 15 states from Maine to Oregon.

"Columbia has stable growth," he said. "You don't see the wild swings you do in so-called hot cities in other parts of the country. It's a good place to invest."

Holder said he is negotiating with "a number of people" to occupy the building. "We feel confident we can move on" with the project, he said.

Several sources said NBSC and the powerful McNair Law Firm are negotiating to move into the building.

NBSC president and CEO Chuck Garnett had no comment.

McNair CEO Bill Youngblood said the firm's present lease at the Wilbur Smith building (the former Bank of America Tower) on Gervais Street would expire in "a couple of years."

"We are exploring several alternatives, as is prudent," he said.

The building would be the second new office tower built by Holder on Main Street. He was the developer of the 17-story Meridian Building.

Holder Construction, run by John Holder's brother Thomas, was the contractor for the nine-story First Citizens Building on Main Street.

Also, Holder Properties, in conjunctio with the USC development foundation, is the developer of the 115-unit Adesso condo building at south Main and Blossom streets. The firm also has announced plans for a 388-unit apartment complex called Assembly Station at the corner of Assembly and Whaley streets.