Columbia Common development beginning to impact area - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Bull Street development beginning to impact area

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Developer Bob Hughes delivered an updated vision of the future of Columbia Common, the name applied to Columbia's Bull Street development.

Construction for the multi-use stadium, the project's controversial centerpiece expected to serve as home field for a new minor league baseball team, could begin in October as work on other parts of the property take place.

"We think it will be much more efficient and effective for everybody if the retail and the residential office above it are completed at the same time baseball is completed," Hughes said. "So because baseball is planning for first pitch in April 2016, it really means most of this will get started late this year." 

According to Hughes, a few components in Columbia Common such as residential, retail and office spaces could open as soon as fall of next year.

Earlier this year, lawmakers were unable to reach an agreement on tax credit legislation that could have jump-started redevelopment of the Babcock building into a hotel and office complex. Still, Hughes remains hopeful.

"The good news is the state is still interested," Hughes said. "They understand the challenges of tax credits for overhauling a major structure. Tax credits are in place and do a great job for smaller buildings. But something as large as Babcock is really not supported by tax credits although it may be the most desirable kind of structure to rehabilitate. So I feel good about what the legislature will do next year."

The first demolition and excavation work is still a few months away for the area, but Columbia City Councilman Brian Newman says he is already noticing an effect in his district near the property.

"Even properties adjacent to the Bull Street property," Newman said, "some have changed ownership, some are sprucing up. Some of which I'm not necessarily sure are for rental purposes or people hoping to resell properties but there's already been some visible signs of investment outside of Bull Street."

Hughes says demand for residential development space on the campus is huge. The demand is also big for retailers as well, but Hughes says it's too early to name names.

Copyright 2014 WIS. All rights reserved.

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