Apartments for post-grads and a new site for the University of South Carolina Technology Incubator are planned for neighboring blocks along Catawba Street, behind USC’s Greek Village and near the Olympia and Granby communities.
A four-story, 141-unit apartment building is proposed at the corner of Catawba and Lincoln streets, about two blocks from the Aspyre student apartments at the corner of Assembly and Whaley streets downtown. The Pennsylvania-based developer, BET Investments, has plans for a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments above ground-floor retail space, according to documents submitted to Columbia’s planning department.
A student apartment developer had shown interest in the site a little over a year ago before backing out of the purchase. Another student apartment developer, Aspen Heights, also had considered building across the street before also canceling its plans.
The $2.5 million lot at 875 Catawba St., which for 30 years was the site of Hancock Machine Shop, has been on the market for a few years.
Brad Brown, of BET Investments, said the developer hopes to attract students who have graduated from Columbia’s universities and want to stay in town to begin their professional careers. About three-quarters of the planned apartment units are to be studio and one-bedroom apartments averaging between 325 and 525 square feet, catering to many young professionals’ recent interest in the tiny-living movement, Brown said.
The proposed apartments and retail space would be a fit for what’s envisioned to be a research community on the edge of USC’s footprint, Brown said.
A possible new campus for USC’s Technology Incubator one block away at 707 Catawba could be the kind of neighbor the apartment developer is looking for.
The USC Development Foundation hopes to construct a new 49,000-square foot home for the Technology Incubator, which currently lives at 1225 Laurel St. downtown.
The 15-year-old Incubator provides office space and technology resources for its start-up tenants to get their businesses off the ground. The proposed new building would include large open spaces for working, along with conference rooms and smaller “huddle” spaces.
Columbia’s Planning Commission will consider site plan approval for BET Investment’s apartment project Monday at 5:30 p.m. The city’s Board of Zoning Appeals will consider zoning variance requests for the apartments and for the Technology Incubator on Tuesday at 10 a.m. Both meetings will be in the third-floor council chambers at 1737 Main St.
Reach Ellis at (803) 771-8307.