Surprise: More private student housing is coming to Columbia.
The City of Columbia’s planning board gave its approval on June 5 for the construction of a 132-unit, 507-bed private student dormitory on a site at 1087 and 1115 Shop Road, in the shadow of Williams-Brice Stadium.
The complex, which is set to be developed by Florida’s Reign Living, would be completed by August 2018, according to the developer’s website. The “luxury” development will be called The Stadium Station.
Reign Living’s president and CEO is Scott Sharp, the former longtime IndyCar racer who had nine career wins on that circuit and raced in the prestigious Indy 500 a number of times. Reign Living’s website lists the Stadium Station project as the company’s second private student dormitory complex. The other is in Tallahassee, Florida, near Florida State University and Florida A&M.
The company’s website also offers that students who live at Stadium Station in Columbia “will become champions in life.”
As proposed, the Stadium Station complex would contain 111 four-bedroom units and 21 three-bedroom units. A large, vacant commercial building currently on the roughly 10-acre Shop Road site would be demolished, making way for the construction of the 274,000-square-foot, four-story housing complex. The site will include 473 parking spaces for cars and 132 “bicycle parking spaces,” according to city planning board paperwork.
Blueprints submitted to the planning commission also show the complex could contain a game room, a “café coffee bar,” a “movie nook,” a computer lab and a fitness center, among other amenities.
The coming construction of Stadium Station continues the seemingly unrelenting student housing boom in Columbia. The last several years have seen a glut of private college housing in the Capital City, from the retrofitting of pre-existing buildings — like in the case of the old Olympia and Granby Mills, the Palmetto Compress and The Hub — to a host of new construction, including the Station at Five Points and a number of complexes near Colonial Life Arena.
What makes the proposed Stadium Station development on Shop Road a bit different than some of the more recent student developments is that it is not in the city center, within somewhat reasonable walking distance to the center of campus. From the Shop Road site to the Russell House (student union) is a distance of about 2.5 miles.
That said, potential student residents could be drawn to Stadium Station because of its direct proximity to Williams-Brice Stadium, where the Gamecocks typically play seven football games per year.
Columbia City Councilman at-large Howard Duvall says he has no issues with the Shop Road project specifically; however, he admits he is starting to wonder how much is too much when it comes to Columbia’s unending student housing boom.
“I do have some concerns that we are getting an awful lot of [student] type housing in the city and in the suburbs of the city,” Duvall says.
Duvall notes that many of the units in the private dorms are specifically geared toward college lifestyles and he worries what will become of many of the complexes in the future, as students often gravitate toward newer offerings. The councilman says he hopes the developers of Stadium Station have good long-term plans.
“They obviously think they have a market for the students,” Duvall says, of the Shop Road plans. “I think that the students are going to opt for the most modern facilities and the facility with the most amenities, when it comes down to it. I hope that the one that is going to be built is going to be built for a future clientele, too, that might not be students.”