Politics & Government

USC approves contract for downtown apartments

mbergen@thestate.com

The University of South Carolina’s trustees approved a $11 million contract Friday to lease apartments at Park Place.

The three-year agreement will allow USC to house 424 students in 152 apartments at Park Place, located at Blossom and Huger streets in Columbia’s Vista.

The contract comes as USC prepares to redevelop its south campus. When existing dorms there — including Bates House, Bates West, the Roost and Cliff Apartments — are demolished or renovated, students will be moved to Park Place, said USC spokesman Wes Hickman.

The contract gives USC the ability to house students in a residence-hall environment during construction, Hickman said.

USC’s proposed 18-acre south campus redevelopment is bordered by Pickens, Heyward and Sumter streets, near the school’s soccer stadium. Plans, still in the initial phases, call for tearing down 1970s-era south campus residence halls and replacing them, adding a parking garage.

Nearby residents have expressed concern that students living at the proposed south campus village will cut through their neighborhoods, by car or on foot, walking to and from Five Points.

USC is expected to meet soon with those neighbors to address their concerns.

Work on the south campus project is expected to be completed over the next decade. USC has options to renew the Park Place lease if construction takes longer than three years.

Cassie Cope: 803-771-8657, @cassielcope

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