EXCLUSIVE: BullStreet lands second residential development

BullStreet has landed its second residential development project, this one for active seniors.

Developers will announce plans Wednesday for Merrill Gardens, a community featuring independent living, assisted living and memory care apartments.

The 196-unit development is a joint venture of Merrill Gardens and Pillar Properties of Seattle, Wash., and Second Fifty Communities of Charleston. The companies are also developing Merrill Gardens at Carolina Park in Mount Pleasant.

“These apartments will be the best-located senior housing units in Columbia,” said Robert Hughes, president of Hughes Development Corp. and master developer for the BullStreet development in downtown Columbia. “The addition of Merrill Gardens fits our vision for BullStreet perfectly, allowing us to provide living opportunities for all age groups.”

bullstreetsenior housing
The 196-unit development is a joint venture of Merrill Gardens and Pillar Properties of Seattle, Wash., and Second Fifty Communities of Charleston. Provided image

Last month, the Terranova group of Greenville announced plans for 28 luxury town homes along Calhoun Street. There are also plans to turn the landmark Babcock building into apartments, although that project has not been formally announced.

Luxury town homes are planned for the BullStreet Complex. TownPark at BullStreet will feature 28 new town homes starting in the low $300,000s.

A planned student housing project stalled when Richland County denied tax breaks for it.

BullStreet is the name of the project to redevelop the 181-acre former S.C. State Hospital complex. The project is considered the biggest land deal in modern Columbia history. BullStreet is zoned for 3.3 million square feet of commercial space, which is roughly the size of Greenville’s central business district, according to Hughes.

Merrill Gardens at BullStreet will be located near the third base line of the $37 million, mostly taxpayer-funded Spirit Communications Park, home of the Single A Columbia Fireflies baseball team. It will also be across the street from a planned 20-acre park along Smith Branch creek that bisects the campus.

Second Fifty Communities chief executive Clayton Mozingo said he has been working on locating the project at BullStreet for two years, and the baseball stadium and the new city park were big factors in the decision.

“Seniors are the No. 1 purchasers of minor league baseball tickets,” he said. “And there’s not another 20-acre park that’s going to be built in downtown Columbia.”

The complex will welcome residents age 55 and over.

Merrill Gardens currently has 28 operating communities in six states with five new communities under development, including Merrill Gardens at Columbia. The company’s website is www.merrillgardens.com.

The seniors project is being built on 2.66 acres of property at Freed and Gregg streets, which the partners purchased last year for $3.25 million, county records show.

Construction for the first phase of 115 units will begin later this year, with 81 units of phase 2 beginning soon after the first phase is completed, company officials will announce Wednesday. Residents are expected to move in when the first phase opens in 2019.

The development will have units with full kitchens, expansive common areas, a rooftop deck and a sports bar and pub, according to a news release. “While residents will have access to 24-hour dining and staffing, active wellness programs and scheduled transportation, residents will also be encouraged to be active members of the BullStreet neighborhood and enjoy the retail, restaurant and entertainment offerings as the site develops,” the release says.

Merrill Gardens joins the Terranova Group of Greenville as the first official residential announcements at BulllStreet.

Terranova intends to build 28 luxury town homes on Calhoun Street, between the historic Parker Annex building, which has recently been remodeled for offices, and the Babcock Building.

The town home development, called TownPark at BullStreet, will have two- and three-story units with prices ranging from the low $300,000s to the low $400,000s, respectively, said agent Graeme Moore of The Moore Company, exclusive broker for the project. The development is just inside the site’s historic brick wall, a short walk from Spirit Communications Park.

Moore said construction of the town homes is planned to start in mid-September.

Merrill Gardens at BullStreet

▪ 196 units

▪ Full kitchens

▪ Rooftop deck

▪ Sports bar and pub

▪ 24-hour dining and staff