University of South Carolina trustees OK apartment complex, office building

ashain@thestate.comJanuary 16, 2014 

University of South Carolina trustees agreed Thursday to have Holder Properties build a $94.6 million apartment complex and a $25 million office building in the Innovista research campus.

In a novel project for USC, the school will lease the land to the Atlanta developer, who will construct and take most of the profit generated from the apartments and offices.

USC is not spending any money on the buildings but will take a cut earned from the projects, which still need final city of Columbia and state regulatory approvals.

The projects are part of USC campus’ movement on the west side of Assembly Street that includes the Greek Village, school of public health and a new $106.5 million business school opening this spring.

Holder has built several projects in downtown Columbia, including the Meridian and Main & Gervais office towers, and the Adesso condominiums and Aspyre apartments.

The new 878-bed apartment complex, one part of which will open in fall 2015 and the second in fall 2016, would compete with new student apartments that have cropped up on Bluff Road in recent years.

The new apartments behind the Carolina Coliseum are expected to include amenities offered at the Bluff Road units -- such as a pool and fitness center along with some retail – while being closer to campus. The complex will include 689 parking spaces.

Demand for student housing has grown as USC has increased its enrollment in recent years to counter drops in state funding. Less than a third of the school’s 24,000 undergraduate students live on campus.

Four more apartment projects with more than 1,600 beds also are planned within blocks of the coliseum.

Holder’s new six-story office building would go at Blossom and Assembly streets.

USC will receive $72,600 in annual rent plus 15 percent of the profit from 110,000- to 130,000-square-foot building, when it opens in 2017. The school will rent 40,000 square feet to help ease its shortage of academic space on campus.

The new office building is going into one of two locations reserved for private development when the Innovista campus was launched a decade ago. However, the recession and management troubles doomed private investment planned to complement a pair of academic buildings.

Holder partnered with USC’s Development Foundation to build the Adesso condos eight years ago to offer residences near the Innovista. But the recession also sunk condo sales. Sale prices were slashed, and the foundation and Holder lost money.

USC’s $144 million research campus, meant to marry university faculty work with businesses, also fell short of expectations. Now, however, USC and businesses leaders hope Innovista’s fortunes are changing with the improving economy.

“There’s a lot more energy to get more done,” Holder chief executive John Holder said.

Holder said he is not concerned about a glut of student housing could develop near USC’s campus. He said he has a waiting list for the 400 apartments at Aspyre on Assembly Street. “The demand is there.”

The State is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service