Columbia City Council Approves Construction of Student Housing Developent Downtown

Feb 16, 2016

Credit KBIA

The Columbia City Council voted 6-1 last night to approve the combination of two lots of land to make way for a new apartment complex on Locust Street.

The developers plan to demolish The James Condominium, Quinton’s, and Britches Clothing in downtown Columbia.

The Fields Holdings Company got permission to combine two plots of land on Locust Street between 9th and 10th street in downtown Columbia. The proposed 10-story building would include retail space on the ground floor, one floor of parking and 205 apartments.

4th ward council member Ian Thomas voted yes on the proposal.  Thomas said at this stage as long as the developers aren’t violating any of the city’s zoning laws, construction needs to be approved.

“It appears to comply with our zoning in that it will go no higher than 10 stories and that it does include 25 percent parking spaces per the number of beds that are proposed and also that it has retail on the ground floor”, Thomas said.

3rd Ward council member Karl Skala voted no on the proposal.  Skala said his vote is based off the negative attitudes many of Columbia’s residents have about student housing.

“The overwhelming sentiment that a lot of folks have been telling me is what is going on downtown?" Skala said. "A lot of people are coming up with the final questions saying well what’s left for adults downtown?”

Thomas says there is the potential that the new development could also be used to house many of Columbia’s adults, with two-thirds of the new units either being studios, one bedroom apartments or two bedroom apartments.  Thomas said this is different from what the city normally sees from development catering to the undergraduate student market.