New York development firm Park 7 Group is considering a 24-story, luxury housing complex in downtown Columbia. The building – which would surpass the city’s next tallest by nine stories – would include several hundred units targeted toward students and young professionals.
The property’s location at the corner of Elm and 6th streets is classified as C-2 zoning. Bengal’s Bar & Grill operates there right now.
Currently, Park 7 Group counsel and the Columbia city attorney are hammering out an agreement on development assurances while addressing the community’s growing concerns about C-2 zoning. Some of those issues include parking, utility infrastructure and a “no moratorium” clause once the design process begins. Because of its C-2 zoning, there are no height limitations or parking requirements. But, the building would have to meet city infrastructure requirements.
Pat Zenner, Columbia’s development services manager, says that with a project of this magnitude, the city will have to address major issues that have big implications later down the road for downtown development.
“The capacities of our infrastructure systems are going to have to be evaluated in order to determine if the city even has the practical capability of providing service necessary to support a structure of this size,” he says. “And that’s going to have an impact as it relates to programming the construction or if it even proceeds forward.”
In light of the recent Niedermeyer building debacle and the boom of luxury student housing, Park 7 Group is most likely trying to cover all its bases to appease its investors and assuage community members, according to Zenner.
He says the initial pitch for this complex includes a first-floor retail level, interior parking, a concierge, the possibility of a rental car service and a heap of other upscale amenities that would put it a step above the high-end fixings seen at the Brookside apartment complexes.
No timeline has been set for the development agreement between the city and Park 7 Group. The group is also requesting the rezoning of a 45-acre property in east Columbia for a more traditional housing complex.