The Texas-based student housing developer that had its eye on a property near Olympia near the University of South Carolina’s Greek Village has backed out of its building plans.
Aspen Heights had requested a zoning change for a four-acre parcel at Catawba and Lincoln streets between the Greek Village and Whaley Street for a proposed residential use. But the company withdrew its request last week, city Planning Administrator John Fellows said Wednesday.
The developer’s withdrawal came about a week after it was granted a second deferral from the Columbia Planning Commission, Fellows said. Attorney Toby Ward, who represented Aspen Heights in Columbia, said last week the company would use the time to discuss plans for the project with affected residents.
Ward said last week the developer wanted to make sure its plan would be a “good fit for the area.” Ward would not say the size of the proposed project or its price tag, though he said it would be expensive enough to qualify for Columbia’s 50 percent property tax credit for student housing.
The zoning request was to go before the Planning Commission in October. Fellows said the developer’s email withdrawing its request did not explain why it was backing out.
City planning staff recommended Aspen Heights’ zoning change request be denied because the land is set aside for incubator space near proposed research areas under zoning plans already in place for the Innovista district.
City staff also recommended denying approval on a similar request for a 2.3-acre lot at 875 Catawba St., which remains on the Planning Commision’s agenda draft for October.
Columbia has experienced a student housing boom of late, but the Aspen Heights plan isn’t the first to fall by the wayside.
EdR, a Memphis, Tenn.,-based developer, recently ended its plans to buy the 1.26-acre site at College and Main streets near the State House after receiving opposition from the University of South Carolina.
Efforts to reach Aspen Heights and Ward on Wednesday afternoon were unsuccessful.