May 15, 2012
Student Living On Main Street One Vote CloserThe Palmetto Center, adjacent to the Marriott hotel, has been one property targeted Chicago based company, Core Campus LLC. The company hopes to add an 800 student dormitory at that location.
Just a few blocks away on Assembly street, Star Music. "We have a long history here," said manager Paul Cherney.
Inside the shop the melodic strings of a guitar are not the only sound Cherney hopes to hear in coming months.
"We want to do everything we can do to bring back downtown Columbia."
On Main Street stands the now vacant, 21-story, Palmetto Center, which could potentially be called home by 800 students.
"The main issue I hear was just with compatibility with the business environment with Main Street."
While Krista Hampton with planning and development services says her staff recommended to city council to approve the amendment, the planning commission did not. She heard:
"The issue was that Main Street is Columbia's business address. So do we want to make it that it incorporates students as well?"
Hampton admits it has been one of the city's goals, to increase population downtown while decreasing vehicle traffic.
For Cherney, it's not guitar cords, but foot traffic, that's music to his ears. He believes a new student dorm could be the catalyst.
"I'm probably going to end up selling some more guitars, some more strings. It's going to be good all around for us. It's going to increase the bottom line," said Cherney.
Columbia City Council will hear a second reading next Tuesday for this amendment. If approved it will then need special exception from the Board of Zoning Appeals. That hearing will happen in June.