The North Main Street area is an emerging retail center in Columbia, with new restaurants opening recently and more eateries expected to open soon, according to a recent report by Colliers International. More entertainment opportunities are on the horizon, according to Colliers, which also predicts that residential and office development aren’t far behind.
Here’s a look at Colliers’ report on the North Main Street corridor, including current venues, the area’s advantages, factors driving the growth, and what’s next.
Where is the North Main Street corridor?
The community is surrounded by the Cottontown, Elmwood Park and Earlewood neighborhoods. Colliers said retailers historically have stretched from the State House to Laurel Street, “with little interest in going north of Elmwood Avenue.” That is changing.
What are the area’s advantages?
Colliers says the North Main Street corridor has several advantages:
▪ Proximity to four colleges – the University of South Carolina, Columbia College, the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary and Columbia International University.
▪ Walking distance to the main downtown retail, entertainment and residential district.
▪ Many of the area’s largest employers are nearby.
What factors are driving the growth?
▪ The cost of land and existing buildings is low compared to costs downtown.
▪ Financial assistance from the city and state for reusing existing buildings.
▪ The city of Columbia’s Vacant Abandoned Building Incentive Program provides $1,000 to $20,000 for purchasing, preserving and repairing properties that qualify.
▪ State and local tax incentives for rehabilitating historic properties as well as low- and moderate-income properties. In Columbia and Richland County, the taxable value of a qualifying historic building is frozen on the day it is purchased for 20 years.
▪ Richland County has started streetscaping projects in the corridor from River Drive to Columbia College.
▪ Growth in the Columbia downtown area. In August 2015 and again this past summer, major residential developments opened, adding nearly 5,000 new residents to downtown. The residential growth is “radically reshaping the retail market in and near downtown,” according to Colliers.
What has recently opened in the area?
▪ The War Mouth, Southern barbecue restaurant, opened at 1209 Franklin St. in a former 2,400-square-foot industrial warehouse.
▪ Studio 2LR, an architecture and interior design company, moved into a 3,400-square-foot location at 2428 Main St.
They join several other businesses, including Lamb’s Bread Vegan Cafe, Vino Garage, Sweet Temptations Bakery and Main Street Bakery.
What else is planned for the area?
▪ The Cotton Town Brew Lab is expected to open later this year next to the War Mouth at 1223 Franklin St.
▪ Indah Coffee Company will share space with the brew lab and will include a kitchen and tasting room.
▪ The owner of Bourbon, at 1214 Main St., plans to create NoMa Revival in a 7,100-square-foot building at 2510 N. Main St. The plan is for NoMa Revival to include a beer garden, butcher counter and a 150-seat concert hall.
▪ The former Moore Cadillac dealership site at 2222 Main St. provides an opportunity for a larger development. The site is 5.3 acres. If the property is developed, it will accelerate expansion in the North Main corridor, according to Colliers.