Columbia to consider apartments for the Whitney Hotel

The Whitney Hotel may turn into an apartment building, if the Columbia Board of Zoning Appeals approves a rezoning on Tuesday.

Matt Mundy of Estates Properties Inc. applied for the zoning change for the seven-story property at Woodrow and Devine streets, just beyond Five Points. He said he has met with the Old Shandon Neighborhood Association and the Devine Street Association, and that both groups support the rezoning.

Mundy said he also has met with neighboring retailers. Apartments with longer-term residents represent an improvement for the city and will support retailers in the area, he added.

If converted into apartments, the building will be an asset positioned between a retail corridor and the single-family housing of the Old Shandon and Shandon neighborhoods, Mundy said.

The hotel has 75 units and would have the same number of apartments.

Alice Parrott, owner of House of Frames and Paintings on Devine Street, said that ideally, she would prefer a stable Whitney Hotel with a thriving clientele nearby. But she said she understands why the hotel needs to change its operations to be more profitable.

Parrott, who lives nearby, said she also is concerned about increasing the area’s population density with a multifamily housing unit.

The property does not meet the current parking requirements for 75 dwelling units and would need to apply separately for a variance to those requirements.

Originally built in the early 1980s as a condominium building, the Whitney was converted to a suite-hotel by the end of 1986.