Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Thursday the City of Columbia Design/ Development Review Commission voted to deny the site plan and certificate application for a developer who wants to demolish the Palmetto Compress Building in order to build student housing.
The board voted 8-1 in opposition of the developers plan. Board members cited that the plan did not meet certain requirements for approval according to the Innovista guidelines.
"They are developers who have proven themselves in student housing and I think that we should welcome them to Columbia, it's just that we should welcome them on another site," said a Columbia resident.
For months many in the Midlands have been talking about the potential demolition of the Palmetto Compress Building on Blossom Street in Columbia.
"We have been here for seven years looking at considering a project here. We were originally on the contract project with the warehouse in 2006," said a representative from Edwards Communities Development.
The developer had plans to tear down the historic building to create new student housing for USC students. They went before the city development commission and several problems arose.
"A huge portion of the site is surface parking which is inconsistent with the Inovista guidelines," said a board member.
More than 100 people from the community came out in opposition. Part of Innovista guidelines is that students cant cross a railroad more than twice in a day.
The developer proposed building a bridge for students to use but some say that would not be a good solution.
"Students will find a way across those tracks. For example the Clyburn bridge on highway 277, you see holes in the fence, and people will find the most direct way," said another Columbia resident.
Others think that the city should not allow the demolition of the historic Palmetto Compress building.
"A lot of people have forgotten that the vista was an old warehouse district a few decades ago and it was a rundown warehouse district. Investors came in and through reuse of the historic buildings they have made it what it is today," said Sarah Luadzers with the Vista Guild.
"We were told over and over again that we could not save the Granby and Olympia mills, they said they were too big and too cumbersome, they could not be reused and we proved them wrong, I think we can prove them wrong here as well," said a resident.