It will be a short walk - in some cases just a few steps - to a host of recreational activities for new residents of The Hub.
A special all-access tour – compliments of Columbia Police Department Deputy Chief Melron Kelly and fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins – offered a glimpse of what residents – most University of South Carolina students – have to look forward to in the coming months.
Among those amenities are a roof-top deck with swimming pools, hammocks, deck chairs, covered tables, outdoor games and a giant-screen TV for game-day viewing.
Inside, there are various lounge areas, weight rooms, spas, tanning booths, table games and even hot tubs in some apartment units.
Kelly joked that the students likely would be less tempted to head out to Five Points, or anywhere else for that matter.
"I'm going to see if my wife and kids will move down here with me," he said.
Nearly 850 college students and young professionals are taking up residence in the 21-story Hub at Main and Washington streets, with Thursday the first of two official move-in days there. The building has been converted over the past 18 months from office space to luxury apartments in a $40 million major renovation.
2 p.m.: Brisk traffic
New residents of The Hub were paid a special visit in the early afternoon Thursday, as Columbia Police Department Deputy Chief Melron Kelly and fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins stopped by for a peek.
The two toured the luxury apartment complex, even offering this reporter a much-appreciated all-access glimpse at the landscape.
Kelly said the facility’s opening will mean a big boom for the downtown area.
“I haven’t seen traffic like this in this area since I used to come down (town as a youngster) with my granny to (the old) Kress store.
12:25 p.m.: A mid-day pick-me-up
Those looking for a little kick start to their move in didn’t have to look far.
Representatives with Gold Peak Coffee, a retail brand of the Coke company, were offering free samples Thursday from a mobile truck just across the street from The Hub on Hampton Street. The stop is among several the company has planned throughout the area in the next several days.
The Gold Peak truck is scheduled to be on the USC campus the first day of fall classes next Thursday.
11:25 a.m.: Park and go
Parking spaces remained readily available along the street in front of The Hub in downtown Columbia, as residents moved in Thursday morning, the first of two planned move-in days at the luxury apartment complex.
Students can look forward to that kind of availability throughout the year, as each one as has been assigned their own spaces in the parking garage behind the complex.
Zack Cavall, a senior criminal justice student, said that luxury is part of the appeal of living there.
“We all have assigned spots, so it’s kinda nice - if my truck will fit,” he said. “I didn’t want to have to feed the meter quarters all day.”
Cavall said he plans to make the short walk to campus for classes each day, weather permitting, rather than taking his truck each time.
10:45 a.m.: ‘No biggie’
The buzz of activity between Washington and Hampton streets was controlled and virtually hassle-free in the early going Thursday morning, as the day’s first wave of residents at The Hub downtown started to move in.
That was likely the result of the the staggered arrival times and a well thought out temporary parking system that has been put into place along that stretch of Main Street.
Tatum Cornelius, a University of South Carolina sophomore, was among the early arrivals as she was assigned a 9 a.m.-noon check-in time.
“If everybody showed up all over the place, I think we would have some problems,” Cornelius said. “But, no biggie. It’s the elevators that are tricky.”