A signature redevelopment project overlooking the Congaree Riverfront remains in limbo after West Columbia City Council put off initial approval Monday.
Concerns about parking, number of residential units and entrances are key questions unsettled for a plan to transform an empty site known locally as “the pit” into an upscale mix of stores, apartments and condominiums.
“We’ll get there,” developer Matt Mundy said. “We’ve got a couple of things to work out.”
The 4-acre site at State and Meeting streets is just across the Gervais Street bridge from the Vista in Columbia. Its redevelopment promises to be instrumental in spurring more riverfront redevelopment in the Lexington County city of 15,000 residents, officials say.
Making it happen is a decade-old dream of city leaders.
Major disagreements include:
▪ Assuring enough parking for residents, shoppers, diners and workers and those who go to the riverfront for recreation and concerts, with a minimum goal of 400 spaces wanted.
▪ Looking at reducing the maximum of 300 apartments and condominiums allowed in needed to provide sufficient parking.
▪ Finding more entrances than a pair suggested on side streets in an adjoining neighborhood.
A height restriction first suggested so buildings in the project blend in instead of loom over nearby structures is no longer a stumbling block, officials said.
Concern about that has evaporated since none are expected to be more than five or six stories, officials said.
“There isn’t anything that can’t be worked out,” Councilman B.J. Unthank said of negotiations that continue. “We want them to develop it.”
But one council member is frustrated at the latest delay requested by Mundy’s firm Estates & Companies, saying agreement on guidelines for the project is elusive. “I’m still hoping it can be built,” Councilman Tem Miles said. “But I’m getting less and less convinced that anything will be built there.”
Tim Flach: 803-771-8483