Forest Acres city council has green-lighted The Beach Co.’s plan for a mixed-use development of upscale residential units and shops on the former campus of Cardinal Newman School.
The council approved a second reading of the plan at a special meeting on Wednesday night, Mayor Frank Brunson said at this morning’s session of the 2016 Power Breakfast Series hosted by the Columbia Regional Business Report at the Columbia Marriott.
The plan, which still needs to meet the city’s Planned Unit Development requirements, calls for the construction of 240 luxury apartments and 16 upscale townhomes, Brunson said. In addition, the developer plans to include 30,000 square feet of space for retail.
About 20 retailers and restaurants have shown interest in locating in the development, which will be built along the city’s heavily traveled Forest Drive and near Trenholm Road, Brunson said. The corner is considered one of the Midlands’ prime locations for retailers.
The Beach Co. is “getting ready to go public” with leasing the retail space, Brunson said, adding that expects several “top drawer” retailers will want to locate at the $58 million development.
The project has been in the works since Cardinal Newman announced it would be vacating the site and move to a new campus on Alpine Road near the I-20 interchange. The school settled into its new home in January.
Area residents have raised questions in the past about the development’s impact on traffic along Forest Drive.
The Charleston-based developer has recommended altered street light timing, added additional turn lanes at Trenholm Road and Forest Drive, and redesigned the ingress and egress to the site in order to address these concerns.
Forest Acres also has won approval from the Richland County Council to use property tax revenue generated by the development to pay for a $3.2 million computerized traffic signal system that’s expected to help more than 25,000 vehicles a day move along Forest Drive.