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Discussions continue on hundreds of new Columbia apartments for North Main and Two Notch

Efforts to bring more affordable homes to Columbia are a work in progress.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Hundreds of new apartment homes could be on the way to the Capital City.

According to the Columbia Housing Authority (CHA), 1135 Carter Street off Two Notch Road is expected to become Haven at Palmer Point, a 150-unit senior residential facility.

Karen Best has family in the area and visits often. 

She says she's happy to see something being done with the old building, which the Authority says was formerly owned by the State Department of Mental Health before CHA purchased it in 2019.

"It's going to be great," Best said. "It’s nice to have new people in the community, getting along and have a better place to live for some seniors.”

A few minutes away, off North Main Street, discussions continue on the five-story, 56-unit residential building proposed for River Drive.

RELATED: Process to bring more affordable housing to Columbia moves forward

Community members and commissioners expressed concern over the look and size of the property at the city's design and development review meeting.

"It's fairly striking between a five-story building and the adjacent single-story homes and while we understand the ordinance may allow for it, our neighbors would prefer something shorter," John Wilkinson, Elmwood Park Neighborhood Association President, said.

Other comments were received in writing and read to the commission.

"This is a vast region, which constitutes some of Columbia’s most historic, gentrification vulnerable neighborhoods and thus valuable in the greatest sense of the word," one commenter wrote. "The proposed development is the opening of a door for future development, that will further erect shadows over some of the last remaining gems that make Downtown Columbia an attractive place to live."

Credit: Kayland Hagwood
River Drive development site

RELATED: Columbia Housing Authority continues efforts to reduce evictions after hundreds at risk last month

The developer says they have made efforts toward addressing the community's concerns, including stepping down the building from five to four stories as it gets closer to neighbors, but have limitations based on some tax credits.

"We have a commitment to affordable housing to make sure we have that unit count and there really isn’t another way to do that," someone from the developing team said.

The commission deferred their proposal asking that they make design adjustments for further review.

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