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Changes to CanalSide design move developer, Columbia panel closer to agreement

Representatives from The Beach Co. met Wednesday with members of Columbia’s design panel to iron out design concerns for an addition to the CanalSide apartment complex in downtown Columbia.
Representatives from The Beach Co. met Wednesday with members of Columbia’s design panel to iron out design concerns for an addition to the CanalSide apartment complex in downtown Columbia. Avery Wilks

A grander courtyard entrance to appeal to CanalSide residents and riverwalk pedestrians and some facade improvements moved Columbia’s design commission and the developer closer on Wednesday to agreement on a $58 million expansion to the residential community.

The informal, hour-long meeting with The Beach Co. of Charleston came a month after plans for the addition stalled in a meeting of the city’s design Design/Development Review Commission. Changes, which must be approved by the full commission, included adding more aesthetic detail to one building and redesigning an entrance to a courtyard on another.

The proposed addition includes roughly 315 residential units and would nearly double CanalSide’s number of residents, currently at about 600.

Panel members on Wednesday had some questions about the latest design but said the changes were a step in the right direction.

Member John Powell said that the updated plans would probably be approved if the board were able to hold a vote Wednesday.

“I think we’re pretty close,” said Ned Miller, The Beach Co. development manager overseeing the project. “We’re 95 percent of the way there.”

The panel previously approved two of the four proposed buildings but was critical of designs for the other two. After hearing that feedback, The Beach Co. redesigned the entrance to a courtyard area near the building facing the Columbia Canal.

Panel members said that entrance needed to better separate public space from private space while still appealing both to the building’s tenants and to residents walking along the canal’s riverwalk.

“We’re trying to make it feel more grand, a more impressive face toward the (riverwalk), where there’s going to be a lot of public going by,” Miller said.

The developer also added more aesthetic detail to one building close to the canal and Klapman Boulevard, which leads into downtown Columbia. That included connecting two buildings that were previously separated and further articulating the facade to make the back of the building, which faces a major thoroughfare, look as detailed as the front.

Member Tom Savory told the developer the design for that building was “vastly improved.”

The plans are set to return to the city’s design panel in February.

Miller said the delay has left The Beach Co. about three months behind schedule. The developer expects to begin construction in late spring or early summer and to complete construction in two years, Miller said.

Avery G. Wilks: 803-771-8362, @averygwilks

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