Published July 13, 2012
A decision to approve a student housing complex at Huger and Blossom streets was put on hold Thursday after a city panel said it needed more information about the $40 million project.
Although members of the Columbia Design Development Review Commission opted to defer any action until August on the proposed 612-bed Monarch at USC project that’s backed by Arnold Companies President Ben Arnold, it appeared most liked the plan.
“This looks like a project that could be brought in comfortably at this site,” said board member Dale Marshall.
But the commission, which is charged with approving a project’s design, building materials and even color of brick, wants more information about the architectural details. The panel also raised questions about on-street parking for guests, routes students would walk to reach the University of South Carolina campus, and increased vehicular traffic in the area.
The project only requires the commission’s approval because the city block where it will be built is in the Innovista District and already has required zoning.
Since the project was announced July 3, the design has undergone a few changes.
For example, the number of beds has been increased to 612 from 600, and the number of parking spaces has been revised. Developers now say the project will include 602 parking spaces for cars and 154 spaces for bicycles. Thirty-three of the car spaces will be for handicapped parking.
The project will include 199 furnished living units that are either two-bedroom units or four-bedroom units. Residents of each living unit will have their own bedroom and bath, and share common living areas and kitchens.
The plan includes a parking garage in the center of the block rimmed by the apartment buildings. The structures will be four stories tall at the corner of Huger and Blossom streets, rising to seven stories at Pulaski Street.
Arnold, who did not attend Thursday’s meeting, and his partners, Monarch Ventures of Charlotte, N.C., are committed to building a resort-like student residential complex complete with a roof-top swimming pool, said Michael Chatham, who is the development head at Monarch.
“They want something that’s going to be a flagship in the city of Columbia,” Chatham said of the developers. “We want this to be a premiere site for the students of Columbia.”
If approved, Chatham said a groundbreaking will be held around the first of the year with completion planned for August 2014.
Another student housing project under consideration by city officials is Campus Core’s proposal to convert the Palmetto Center on Main Street into a 21-story, 800-bed dorm.