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Logistics, greenfield sites spur Killian Road development

By Sarah Robbins
Published Dec. 29, 2011

As greater Columbia continues to expand to the northeast, Killian Road at Interstate 77 is attracting businesses with strong logistics connections and greenfield sites that are ready for use.

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One major area available for development is a parcel of land divided into 12 tracts.

John Burris, owner of Gold’s Gym, recently purchased one of the plots to expand the gym in a new direction.

“It’s a fast growth area and will reach a different market than our other gyms,” he said.

Burris first became interested in the area two to three years ago, but the gym wasn’t ready to expand yet, he said. After studying the demographics of the area — people with high incomes and education levels are more likely to exercise — he decided in early 2011 that it was time to establish the new location.

“We wanted to get the property while it was still available,” Burris said. “We believe growth out there will continue at a rapid pace.”

Burris said the car dealerships, Walmart and fast food restaurants all help attract people to the area. He anticipates more development, which he said will only help his business.

Gold’s Gym already has begun construction on the site and anticipates the 44,000-square-foot building will open in September 2012.

The Jim Hudson Lexus dealership finished moving into a site near Gold’s Gym about a month ago, a company employee said.

The dealership decided to relocate because of security concerns at its previous Two Notch Road location. After seeing the expansion taking place off Killian Road, the automotive dealer decided it would be a good time to move and hopefully attract more business.

The company has submitted an application to expand the site to include a Cadillac and GMC dealership as well, but awaits action from Richland County, said Tamara King, a public information officer for Richland County Planning and Development Services.

Patrick Palmer, a broker with NAI Avant, the firm that is handling the sale of the land, said he expects all of the prime real estate on Killian Road to be sold by 2012.

“I think it’s the next big growth area for Richland County,” he said. “It’s properly zoned, there’s good infrastructure and it has interstate access. It just makes sense for development to head in that direction.”

In addition to the Gold’s Gym site, two other tracts of land are under contract and one has been sold to the city of Columbia. Palmer said the sites are beginning to move quickly.

The city plans to put a water tower on the site sometime in 2012.

The smallest plot, just over an acre, is listed at $450,000 per acre. There are several 1 ½ -acre lots and also larger lots of 2 ½ to four acres listed from $200,000 to $275,000 per acre.

Palmer said the market has changed from speculative development to owner-occupied development. While the area may be a good fit for a strip-based development, banks aren’t lending for that sort of real estate.

Boyd Jones, who handles community-banking activity for the National Bank of South Carolina, said banks are ready to lend again, but are looking for specific projects.

Jones hopes to see more manufacturing and wholesale distribution develop in the area.

“Manufacturing creates wealth and wholesale distribution fits well because I-77 connects to Charlotte and Charleston, with the state port,” he said.