USC buys up property because it “doesn’t want to compete with private sector”
The former Sandy’s Famous Hot Dogs location on South Main Street is being remodeled for a Domino’s Pizza restaurant.
The Domino’s store now located two blocks away on Devine Street will move there, perhaps as soon as the end of the year, assistant manager Desiree Aude said.
Sandy’s was an iconic eatery for University of South Carolina students from 1989 until the university’s Development Foundation agreed to buy the property in December 2016. The foundation is a private, tax-exempt organization that purchases and sells property for USC’s benefit.
The foundation also purchased for $1.1 million the USC Bookstore at the corner of South Main and Greene streets, on the same block as Sandy’s.
The block had been the proposed site of a 15-story private student apartment tower. But pressure by the university’s alumni association — which included claims that the tower would throw USC’s iconic Horseshoe into the shadows, marring its character — helped turn back the project.
That opened the door for the foundation to purchase the half-acre lot for $1.5 million.
But the choice of leasing to a chain pizza joint may seem like an odd choice, as the city and USC have announced a major facelift for the South Main area.
The four-block improvement plan, which runs from the State House complex south to Blossom Street, is intended to do for South Main what beautification projects and special zoning overlays did for The Vista and Main Street — breathe additional life into the district and weed out the ugly.
The study calls for two- to six-story mixed use, street-fronted buildings. The Sandy’s site is a one story, single-use building.
But Fred Delk, executive director of the Columbia Development Corp., which encourages and guides investment in the Vista and other areas of downtown, said the move may be a “place-holder” until investment in a higher and better use for the block becomes available.
“There are better things that can happen there,” he said. “But a use like that is something that can be replaced if somebody comes in with a $40 million project.“
He said in the meantime, pizza and college students are a natural fit.
“They’ll probably be very successful,” he said.