Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin has withdrawn his request for landmark status for the Palmetto Compress building in the Vista, paving the way for it to be razed for student housing.
Benjamin, in a letter to the citys planning commission, said that he had toured the Devine Street building, studied 25 years worth of unsuccessful redevelopment plans, and determined that converting the old cotton warehouse to another use was too difficult.
Despite hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in those attempts, (renovation) has unfortunately proven to not be economically feasible, he wrote.
The Ohio-based Edwards Communities Development Co., wants to build a $40 million housing development on the site, bringing 800 students downtown. Efforts to reach the developer and the owner were unsuccessful Thursday.
The citys Design Development Review Commission had been set to review the historic designation at todays meeting. That discussion has now been cancelled.
Currently, there is no protection for the building and a permit for demolition may be issued, the citys planning director Krista Hampton said.
However, the planning commission, the zoning administrator, the city manager or other city council members could request historic protections for the building, she said. So far, none have.
Read more in tomorrows The State.