Plans for the third and final phase of the CanalSide apartment complex in downtown Columbia hit a snag Thursday in a meeting of the city’s design panel.
The Columbia Design/Development Review Commission approved designs for two of the four buildings proposed by The Beach Co. of Charleston for the vacant, nearly 6-acre lot between the current CanalSide complex and the Columbia Canal.
Designs for the other two buildings were referred to subcommittees. Those designs still must be approved by the commission, said Lucinda Statler, Columbia’s urban design planner.
Panel members, city staff and Ned Miller, development manager at The Beach Co. of Charleston, discussed for more than an hour each of the four buildings and associated parking included in the plans, which would nearly double CanalSide’s number of residents, currently at about 600.
Panel members said the project’s overall design, with residential units above ground-level retail and commercial units, had been improved since an informational presentation before the panel in September. But they had questions about each of the four buildings in the roughly $58-million, 340-unit project and were especially concerned with two.
The panel was critical of one building adjacent to the Columbia Canal and riverwalk, some members balking at having the back of a residential building face the public esplanade.
“This feels like the backyard of these spaces rather than opening onto one of our city’s greatest assets,” board member John Powell said.
Board member Tom Savory said that another building close to the canal and Klapman Boulevard, which leads into downtown Columbia, “looks as if it’s clearly the backside more than it has to look like.”
Miller said he was “a little frustrated” after the meeting.
“But I see their point, and I think it’s important to make it attractive to the public,” Miller said. “I think we can work something out, so I’m encouraged.”
Miller said he doesn’t expect the ruling to delay The Beach Co.’s construction schedule. The developer plans to begin construction next spring and complete the project in spring of 2018, Miller has said.
About 60 percent of the apartments in the project would be one-bedroom studio units, Miller said. The rest would be either two- or three-bedroom flats, with a handful of townhomes. A garage parking lot in one of the buildings would include 380 spaces, he said.
CanalSide is off Taylor Street near Klapman Boulevard.
Renovation approved for Equitable Arcade building
The design panel unanimously approved a renovation of the Equitable Arcade building, formerly known as the Arcade Mall, on Main Street. The building, built in 1912, was Columbia’s first shopping center.
Bought by new owners this summer who promised a facelift, the Equitable Arcade building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is designated as a local historic landmark.
The “extensive rehabilitation plan” will include needed repairs to the building’s exterior and interior, using techniques to save as much historic material as possible, according to the panel’s agenda documents.
Columbia commercial real estate broker Ron Swinson, the building’s majority owner, said plans are for the renovation to begin near the end of January.