A proposed 12-unit, four-story apartment building at 933 Main St. will be considered for new construction approval at Thursday’s city of Columbia Design/Development Review Commission meeting.
The brick apartment building, around 14,000 square feet, would be called The Lofts at the Capitol and built over an open-air parking deck on a 0.29-acre parcel that currently includes the Immaculate Consumption restaurant and the Hibachi House, former location of the Nickelodeon Theater. The existing building would remain.
“That’s a much lower density project than we have gotten in Columbia,” said Fred Delk, executive director of the Columbia Development Corporation. “Most of the projects that have come lately have been huge, with like 400 apartments. It’s an alternative to the big apartment complexes.”
The building would be oriented toward Pendleton Street, facing the State House grounds, with a canopied sidewalk entrance leading to the parking area, rear stair and elevator bay.
“It probably has private, very comfortable parking, which is always a downtown issue,” Delk said. “People are looking for all kinds of different amenities and different living conditions.”
The owner/developer of the residential building is 933 Main Street Partners LLC, based in Greenville. The architect is Taylors-based R. Bradley Van Name Architect PA.
“I am encouraged by it, because increased residential density on or near Main Street is a very good thing,” City Center Partnership CEO Matt Kennell said. “It brings more shoppers and it helps attract more retailers.”
An evaluation sheet indicated positive initial commission response. Staff concerns included architectural treatments to adequately disguise the parking lot as the building’s first floor and the appearance of storefront windows planned for the first-floor façade.
“Whatever occurs on the ground level – if that is indeed parking there – something that’s friendly to the pedestrian realm would be my biggest concern for any property,” Delk said. “How does this fit? Walk down any street, and when you’re walking past a parking lot or total blank façade for the total length of the building, it doesn’t make for a comfortable walk.”
Other staff recommendations include a request for a planned parapet on the flat roof to be lowered.
The project signals a continued boom in downtown Columbia’s residential population, which has grown from around 1,250 to 6,000 in just a few years, Delk said.
“The more people we have living here, the better off we are,” Delk said. “It’s just that simple.”