30 years later, Gervais no longer 'Ugliest Street in America'

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - For those of you who make your way down Gervais during rush hour, you're familiar with the construction project that's spilling over onto the sidewalk and into one lane of the street.

It's the future home of the new hotel in the Vista called the Hyatt Place which will wrap construction in November. It will house 130 hotel rooms, with 5,000 square feet of retail space and a café.

Hyatt Place is one of several construction projects underway in the Columbia entertainment district. Right behind it on Lady Street another hotel will be built called the Aloft.

Construction also continues for the My Carolina Alumni Association on Senate, the beer garden/concert area next to Tin Roof called Music Farm, and Hickory Tavern, which will go behind Urban Outfitters.

Also planned for the historic Adluh Flour Building, an Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom.

In the next few years the Vista will see half a billion dollars' worth of investments, something that has been in the works for quite some time.

"You know, ten years the convention Center has been here you're seeing millions of people coming to the Vista annually and about 15 years ago was when we put in the streetscape," said Vista Executive Director Sarah Lewis. "The Vista was a dilapidated warehouse district. So some of it was making it easy to function and being able to put your business into the Vista and I think a lot of it too is that this is a historic design area and we strongly believe in our historic buildings," said Lewis.

Along with the 20 retailers and restaurants planning to come to the area, seven residential developments will allow more people to call the Vista home.

"Well right now we have about 1700 residents that live in and around the Vista," Lewis said. "You're going to see that double in the next year and in the next couple of years, triple. So you have mixed demographic. You are going to have students, business professionals and retired folks that decided they wanted to live downtown in an Urban setting in a condo. So you have an interesting group of people that are here and what I think is interesting about that is that it makes it attractive to different businesses."

Attractive was not a word used to describe the area in the 80's. In 1984, National Geographic magazine named Gervais the "Ugliest Street in America."

Copyright 2014 WIS. All rights reserved.