Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- A new restaurant just opened in Columbia's Bull Street District, an area that is in the midst of a 20-year-revitalization project.
"When they walked me through this space it just blew me away," says Chef Scott Hall, who opened Bone in Barbeque on Friday, the first restaurant in the redevelopment project. "I was just so impressed by the beauty of this space and said we have to make this work."
The goal of the Bull Street Project in downtown Columbia has been to turn the old South Carolina State Hospital campus into a vibrant neighborhood with a mix of businesses and living areas. It included building Spirit Communications Park, the home of the Columbia Fireflies since 2016.
While the project is making progress, others believe it has dragged on too long.
Hughes Development Corporation is in charge of the project and says it's because there was a lot of work to do to get the project off the ground.
"One of the biggest things that we had to do on the front end was improve infrastructure. So there was no modern roadways, there was no sewer, there was no usable power," said Chandler Cox, the Project Manager at Hughes Development Corporation. "The first couple of years have really been putting the infrastructure in place to have those types of developments coming forth."
Negotiations to begin the project started in December 2008, and work began in April 2014. The plan called for 181 acres of the former grounds of the State Hospital to be revitalized, and over 20 acres of that is under construction for a new public park. The project is scheduled to be completed in April 2034.
There is also going to be more housing built on the property.
Graeme Moore, the owner of The Moore Company Real Estate Sales and Management said that some homes that are being built at the site will be opening up in about two months.
"Town park downtown is for people who want to be downtown, who want to be able to walk to events, walk to restaurants. This is for your urban dwellers who like to be on foot and you get all that downtown offers at town park at Bull Street."