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'Dueling piano bar' to move into Vista neighborhood

Real Estate - Commercial
Chuck Crumbo
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Miami-based artist Stephen Gamson created the abstract sculpture (above), representing  the treble clef musical signature, to celebrate the harmony of people and rivers coming together in Columbia. Patrons enjoy the new outdoor dining area (below) at the Arnold Companies’ West End Alley  entertainment complex. (Photos/Chuck Crumbo)

A “dueling piano bar” will join tenants at the 700 Gervais Street redevelopment in Columbia’s Vista neighborhood, developer Ben Arnold said.

“I can’t tell you who it is but I can tell you what it is – a dueling piano bar,” Arnold, president of the Arnold Companies, said at Thursday’s dedication of the redevelopment project. “We hope to have them open soon.” A 3,338-square-foot space in Gervais Street location is vacant, according to a press release.

The entertainment complex, home to Tin Lizzy’s Cantina, City Bar and Tsunami, also has been rebranded West End Alley. It’s named after a new alleyway that was built to provide better connectivity among the venues and an outdoor dining area.

Arnold added that several concepts for a new tenant in the former Jillian’s space are under consideration but nothing has been finalized. Jillian’s, a restaurant-bar concept complete with a game room, dance hall, and outdoor dining area went out of business in January after a 20-year run.

The closing of Jillian’s presents “an opportunity to bring something new to Columbia,” Arnold said. “We have a lot of concepts. I can’t really say too much about yet. We’re very conscientious about doing the right thing.”

The redevelopment project, which began in the second quarter of 2015, was completed in January. The project included a new exterior façade to the front of the building facing Gervais, construction of a stamped sidewalk connecting the front entrance on Gervais to a rear parking lot, construction of a covered outdoor seating in the alleyway, and new lighting and landscaping.

Arnold used Thursday’s occasion to unveil a 15-foot-tall sculpture and dedicate it to the city of Columbia.

Designed and built by Miami-based artist Stephen Gamson, who has created other pieces of public art for the Arnolds, the abstract sculpture represents a treble clef musical signature.

“When I think of music I think of harmony,” Arnold said, adding that he wanted to commemorate the community’s ability to work together in the aftermath of October’s historic floods.

“Columbia is a place where rivers and people come together in perfect harmony,” Arnold said.

Reach Chuck Crumbo at 803-726-7542.

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