If you are looking for new places to shop, eat and exercise around the Midlands, you’re in luck.
It is shaping up to be a hot summer in Columbia’s commercial real estate market with new stores planned from Irmo to Northeast Richland as the economy improves.
“There’s a lot of activity,” said Bill Owen, owner of Columbia’s Owen Real Estate, which is planning a new retail center along Lake Murray Boulevard in Irmo.
In the past six to 12 months, “there’s been a significant increase in activity by quality tenants,” Owen said.
A lot of work over the past year is starting to come together now, resulting in an influx of new developments, said Tripp Bradley, a commercial real estate broker with Colliers International in Columbia.
“You’re going to see more single-tenant-type stuff and smaller developments,” he said.
Big-box retailers are still somewhat hesitant, he said, although there are several “looking around.”
That includes the long-sought-after Costco, which Shop Around reported last month is close to closing a deal to locate along Piney Grove Road at Fernandina Road.
Among other developments recently opened or opening soon in the Columbia area:
A new shopping center along Lake Murray Boulevard will bring Smashburger to Irmo. The new concept burger joint – which actually smashes its burgers with a special smashing tool during cooking – opened its first Midlands location along Devine Street late last year. Diners also can get sides including veggie frites and sweet-potato fries, as well as Haagen Dazs milkshakes.
Joining Smashburger at the center – at 937 Lake Murray Blvd. between AAA Car Care Center and Moe’s Southwest Grill – will be Marco’s Pizza and Dunkin’ Donuts.
“All three want to be open by year-end,” Owen said.
Nearby, at 410 Columbiana Drive, Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse opened its first Columbia-area restaurant earlier this month. The fixed-price eatery features an extensive salad bar and servers who bring various cuts of meat to each table for tasting.
Across town, along Two Notch Road at Fore Avenue – across from Sandhill Station – in Northeast Richland, another strip shopping center is under construction.
Hobby Lobby will open its third Columbia-area location in the 71,000-square-foot center, projected to open by March. It will be joined by Great Clips, Vitamin Shoppe, a Sleep Number mattress store and Aspen Dental.
Nearby along Clemson Road at Sparkleberry Road, 9 Rounds Fitness will open a kickboxing workout facility this summer, Bradley said. Also recently opened in the center: D’s Wings returned after being closed for several years, Henry’s Restaurant opened a second Columbia-area location and Carolina Personalized Gifts opened a gift-and-monogramming shop.
Also in Northeast Richland, along Two Notch Road near Walmart, Anna’s Linens earlier this month opened its third Midlands location in Northpointe Commons.
Strictly Running has run out of space at its home for nearly 37 years in Five Points. The store will move around the corner to a new spot at 2515 Devine St. this fall. The store, which sells gear for runners and walkers, is renovating the 2,775-square-foot building and plans to move into the new location in September.
The store is nearly tripling in size and will have a larger retail section, and dedicated spaces for group runs and training education, chief operating officer Jordan Lybrand said.
The expanded retail section will offer more products – including shoes and clothing – from the store’s current vendors and possibly new vendors, Lybrand said.
The runners’ area will offer a spot for runners to gather before group runs and then meet back up after runs for water and refreshments.
“We’re just going to be looking to step up the level of service for the running clientele of Columbia and the greater area,” Lybrand said.
Finally, Dollar General opened a new location earlier this month at 6323 Monticello Road in north Columbia, offering general merchandise and hiring up to 10 workers.