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Design/Development Commission approves plans for 8-story apartment building near USC

New structure would be at corner of Gervais and Pickens streets, across from Law School
Credit: wltx

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Columbia's Design/Development Review Commission (DDRC) considered a plan for a new eight story apartment building near the University of South Carolina and a re-development of an existing building in the Vista during a regularly scheduled virtual meeting Thursday, July 9.

The DDRC approved the two residential living projects and a request from Historic Columbia for the construction of a new greenhouse at The Hampton-Preston Home in downtown Columbia.

Credit: City of Columbia

Items 2 and 3 on the Consent Agenda were for the property at 1209-1211 Gadsden Street in the Vista. Property owners had requested preliminary certification for the Bailey Bill* and design approval for exterior alterations of the building. The ultimate plan is to convert the two-story building's space into four ground floor offices with four two-bedroom apartments on the second floor. All eight spaces would each measure approximately 1,300-square-feet.

Credit: City of Columbia

On the Urban Design portion on the Regular Agenda was the request for approval of the design of an 8-story apartment building on the corner of Gervais and Pickens streets. The site currently holds three separate buildings -- Copy Shop, Havens Framemakers & Gallery, and the former location of Richard Quinn & Associates consulting firm.

This is the second time the plans for 1600-1620 Gervais Street have been presented for review.

According to the submitted item: The proposal is for an 8-story multi-family residential building with below-grade parking. The property is located at the southeast corner of Gervais and Pickens, within the City Center Design Development District. The project was originally before the Commission in January. At the March 12 hearing, the DDRC approved the site plan for this project and made a motion to defer a decision for Certificate of Design Approval and to appoint a sub-committee to work on outstanding concerns.

Those concerns included overall concern about the size and mass of the overall structure on the corner, the lack of an entrance at the corner of Gervais and Pickens, and the lack of information about proposed storefront design and details.

Credit: City of Columbia

The apartment buildings would be across the street from the newly refurbished Hilton Garden Inn on Gervais and University of South Carolina's School of Law on Pickens.

Also approved on the Regular Agenda, request from Historic Columbia to build a greenhouse on the grounds of The Hampton-Preston Mansion on Blanding Street.

One of Columbia's historic homes, Hampton-Preston was built in 1818 by Ainsley Hall and acquired by the Hampton family in 1823. Under the ownership of the Hamptons and succeeding owners, the four-acre site developed into a horticultural showplace, complementing the grand house at its center. At least one, if not several, greenhouses dotted the site quite early on, according to records from Historic Columbia. 

The proposed greenhouse would be located at the back of the property in the northwest quadrant of the site, near the wall which borders Laurel Street. Supporting structures, such as a shade structure with fencing, is proposed for the northeast quadrant and a new gatehouse will be located along the Pickens Street side of the property. 

Credit: City of Columbia

The public can view the recorded meetings through CityTV accessed at City of Columbia's YouTube channel.

RELATED: Columbia to hold special called meeting on development at 1600 Gervais Street

*Bailey Bill status requires the building owner to invest 20% of qualified expenses in exchange for keeping the building’s current assessed value at the same rate for 20 years. This property tax abatement is meant as an incentive to encourage the rehabilitation of historic properties in Columbia.