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Developer pulls out of proposed 15-story South Main dorm

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By Chris Cox
Published Sept. 15, 2015

A Memphis, Tenn., developer’s plan to build a 15-story student dorm one block from the University of South Carolina is no more.

EdR tower
Memphis, Tenn. developer EdR has pulled out of its plans to build a 15-story student dorm one block from the University of South Carolina Horseshoe. (Photo/Provided)
EdR has moved on from its attempts to enter the Columbia market, Josh Speed of Newmark Grubb Wilson Kibler said Tuesday. EdR’s project had been opposed by USC since it first debuted this summer, as school officials said the building would cast a shadow over the nearby historic Horseshoe.

“That deal is no longer,” Speed said. “However, the Sandy’s property is now listed and available.”

The now-dead project was planned for the corner of Main and College streets, where the Sandy’s restaurant and Baptist Collegiate Ministries are located.

“We have investigated a variety of options, and even researched reducing the height of the building by expanding the footprint onto land adjacent to our location.  But we were simply not able to make the numbers work to create a financially feasible development at a lower height,” EdR said in a statement.

“While we believe this community would have done much to revitalize and drive the growth of the South Main District, it was also obvious to us that this development would not be welcomed by a vocal contingent of the university and the local communities.

“In our company’s 51 years, we have created and built our business and reputation around mutually beneficial and long-term partnerships with universities and cities across the country.  We prefer to invest our time and resources toward positive opportunities that are well received.”

Attempts to reach a USC spokesman were unsuccessful.

Developers received project approval from the Board of Zoning Appeals in June but the plan has been in limbo with the Design-Development Review Commission ever since. The commission postponed planned meetings in July and August in order to meet with university officials, and also with board members at a pair of subcommittee meetings to address concerns over the project.

“Representatives of the two groups will discuss options regarding the proposed Icon on Main collegiate housing community with the goal of achieving a solution beneficial to all parties,” USC and EdR said in a joint press release in July.

In June, the university’s alumni association launched an online campaign against the proposed dorm, which included the website and various social media sites. The site’s petition had more than 2,000 signatures within its first day live, executive director Jack Claypoole said at the time.

Wilson Kibler responded shortly after, saying the project would not cast a shadow over the revered USC grounds. The company, which was brokering the deal, said its own shadow studies suggested the iconic site would be untouched by the project.

Reach Chris Cox at 803-726-7545 or on Twitter @chrisbcox.

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