The Columbia City Council has voted to take action on three large properties, including Capital City Stadium and the Assembly Street post office.
At its Tuesday meeting, City Council voted 6-1 on a second reading to extend the contract on the purchase of Capital City Stadium on Assembly Street. The contract extension gives the developer, Weddle Real Estate Investment, until May 1, 2020 to fulfill several obligations.
Under the terms of the contract, City Councilman Howard Duvall told the Columbia Regional Business Report that Weddle Real Estate Investments must provide a total of $165,000 in earnest money to be paid in increments as the project receives approvals and permits.
Weddle Real Estate Investments plans to tear down the historic ballpark to build a mixed-use development consisting of market-rate apartments and retail space on the nearly six-acre site. Duvall said Weddle purchased the contract from Bright-Meyers 2001 LLC.
The proposal must be approved by Richland County.
“I am very excited to be back in Columbia with the possibility of redeveloping the Capital City Stadium site,” Andrew Weddle, principal and managing director of Weddle Real Estate Investments, said in a news release. “We began this by reaching out to the local community and speaking with the neighbors and residents around this site. We have sat down with leaders like Councilman Ed McDowell and County Councilwoman Dalhi Myers, who has provided invaluable input, and through this process we’ve been able to secure the input and support needed in the community to make this site beneficial for all parties involved.”
Part of Weddle’s contract with the city includes a contribution to Historic Columbia to document the history of the ballpark.
Weddle once owned the nearby Olympia and Granby mill properties before selling them. The properties were redeveloped into residential apartments in 2007 and are now owned by Philadelphia-based developer PMC Property Group.
James Shine, partner and managing director of Weddle Real Estate Investments, believes the company’s past experience in the area market will serve it well going forward.
“We talked to the neighborhood before we talked to anybody else,” Shine told CRBR. “We had two meetings with the neighborhood before we talked to any members of city council or the county council. And we did that because Andrew’s background and my background involved the Olympia and Granby Mills. . … The same people who are in the neighborhood now, a lot of them were involved in that era, and we knew that we were wasting our time on this project if we didn’t touch base first with the people who lived there.”
The Capital City Stadium site has been through several redevelopment iterations, including a planned mixed-use development anchored by a Kroger grocery store. Shine said he is confident the latest plan will work because of local support.
“This project will come to fruition only because the city will support it, the county will support it and the neighborhood will support it,” he said.
In other business, City Council also passed resolutions to allow an environmental impact study for the purchase of the post office building on Assembly Street. The council also passed a resolution regarding the purchase of nearly 200 acres near Beltline Boulevard and Bluff Road for possible future expansion of the city’s current sewage treatment plant nearby.