Richland County proposes future for Columbia Mall

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Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 6:21 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A $71 million plan for changes at the Columbia Place Mall will feature a space to house several important Richland County Departments.

On Tuesday, the Richland County Council talked about turning the almost-vacant Columbia Place Mall into government offices.

“I’m extremely proud of this council just for making the decision for the staff to carry this out. I’m so excited and thankful for everybody on the work that’s being done,” said Cheryl English, Richland County Council member who represents District 10.

The presentation includes a proposed Family Service Center in the space where Dillard’s used to be located.

The projected space will have two floors which will include office sharing spaces and other features with various state agencies.

”The Family Services Center includes or projected to include the Department of Social Services, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Health and Environmental Control as well as our partners who are housed in the Hampton Street Location,” said Richland County Administrator Leonardo Brown.

On the first floor, in what once was Burlington Coat Factory and JCPenney will be the Public Safety Complex. The 9-1-1 call center and the S.C. Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services will be in that area.

On the second floor, the Department of Juvenile Justice and the voter registration office will be placed. Brown explained the importance of the office space for voter registration workers.

“That came about as we talked about the need to provide a space where voter registration elections office can conduct their business and have plenty of space to store their equipment that is used to when folks go out to vote,” said Brown.

As presented now, the money for this project would come from bonds, American Rescue Plan Act funding and other sources.

While there is no completion date for the Family Services Center yet, if this proposal passes, the Public Safety Complex is set to open on June 30, 2025, The Voter Registration and Elections Office on January 1, 2026.

The proposal is set to come up again at the council’s September 19th meeting. The public hearing is set for Oct. 17.

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