By Chris Cox
Published Oct. 21, 2015
As Five Points celebrates its centennial this year, the district’s association members have been busy in the library researching its history. In doing so, organizers have found articles dating back all the way back to the 1960s about merchants clamoring for additional parking.
“It’s literally been the resounding request of the Five Points merchants for decades,” said Amy Beth Franks, the Five Points Association’s executive director.
Merchants will finally soon get their wish, as the City of Columbia will turn the Exxon gas station into a parking lot, which will add approximately 35 spaces to the district, parking services director John Spade said. Currently, Five Points is about 200 parking spaces short, Franks noted.
“It’s crucial when you’re trying to run a vibrant, retail, hospitality district,” Franks said. “The Five Points Association and our merchants have been asking the city for as long as I can remember for additional parking.”
Private developer Stan Harp purchased the land from Exxon, an area mainstay since the 1970s which closed its doors earlier this month, and has now partnered with the city for its next use. Five Points has requested the city add storm water storage underneath the lot, and Spade said the city is working on plans to accommodate that.
The Exxon owner should be razing the building in the next several weeks, Spade said. He did not have a timetable on when the lot will be done, but the city has asked its engineer to put it on a fast track to completion. The lease of the property will be $100,000 a year, Spade said.
No drawings for the lot have been completed yet, but what is known is it will be a paid lot which will be operated 24 hours per day, seven days a week.
Reach Chris Cox at 803-726-7545 or on Twitter @chrisbcox.