Could this booming neighborhood become Columbia's next Vista?

Could this booming neighborhood become Columbia's next Vista?
Updated: Aug. 2, 2018 at 7:59 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - At Indah Coffee Company - on a Thursday afternoon - there's hardly an open table in sight.

"It crosses barriers. It breaks down barriers," said owner Nick Hauser. "People like to gather around coffee. They like to reconnect with an old friend around coffee."

The coffee shop is a place where Hauser and his baristas make a living doing what they truly love to do. After years of traveling the world of coffee -- from Sumatra to Kenya - he's brought that world to the Midlands.

"We have basically coffees from all over the world, and they come in a 130-150 pound bag," Hauser said.

But don't look for Indah in the Vista, in Five Points, or even in the Bull Street District. It's in a neighborhood known as Cottontown, which is primarily located on Sumter Street north of Elmwood Avenue. While, so far, the Bull Street development has fallen short of some expectations, ironically, just walking distance from Bull Street, Cottontown is booming.

"We were surprised," said Hauser. "We thought we would get neighborhood traffic, but it's also been pretty amazing to us to see how many people are driving from the suburbs and driving from, you know, Forest Acres and Garners Ferry and Blythewood."

The exploding success is a surprise to developer Frank Cason too.

"Now, it's exciting to see traffic and continues traffic flow and people sitting and drinking coffee and having beers and having dinner and lunch," he said.

Cason is one of the people in the engine room of the locomotive driving this district forward. This week, his team announced three more building in Cottontown will be revitalized soon.

One will become office space for Cason, an architect, a marketing firm, and an attorney. Another, a former auto shop, might soon become a restaurant. A third will definitely become a restaurant, a stone fired Neapolitan pizzeria called Citta del Cotone, which means "Cottontown" in Italian. The pizza restaurant will open in early fall.

He and Hauser hope the neighborhood's future will become even brighter soon.

"The saying 'if you build it, they'll come,' it's kind of worked here," Hauser said.

When asked why he thinks the area is growing more than other developments, Cason said the visibility, proximity to neighborhoods, and pre-existing traffic on Sumter Street area all factors in Cottontown's success.

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