Neighbors, councilman say it's time to demolish burned up 'eyesore'

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The parking lot is bare. Vines climb the walls. And everywhere you look there are subtle signs of what happened at 826 Bush River Road in Columbia two years ago.

Two years ago, a controversial restaurant, bar, and alleged strip club – known as Pandora – burned.

"It's an empty parking lot now, and it's just a burned out shell of a building. It needs to go," said Jennifer Warlick, who works nearby and grew up in the area of Bush River Road near I-126.

Warlick has been looking at what she calls an eyesore ever since it burned. She practically works next door, and she says the dilapidated building, with a dilapidated fence, encourages questionable foot-traffic in the area.

"I want Pandora gone because it just draws not a good element to this area," she said. "People don't want to shop at Dutch Square. People don't want to eat at Captain D's at night. Nobody wants to be down here in the evening because you just never know what's going to happen."

So why is the burned building still standing two years later? Richland County Councilman Seth Rose wants to know too.

"It's clearly a total loss. It's obviously not a functioning building. It's on a major thoroughfare," he said.

After checking with the county, Rose says the building's owner is tied up in a lawsuit against an insurance company, and that's why it still hasn't been demolished. But, Rose isn't satisfied with that. He wants demo expedited.

"I hope that as soon as next week or the week thereafter we're going to have a definitive answer as to when this structure can come down," Rose said.

The sooner the better for Warlick, who believes it'll be a major step in cleaning up that stretch of Bush River Road.

"Possible somebody else could build on that property. It's right there on the interstate exit. You know, it could possibly be something that would be worth having there, but not as long as that burned out shell of building's sitting there," she said.

Wednesday evening, WIS reached out to the building owner's attorney but didn't hear back.

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