The development of three new apartment complexes and a possible major increase in rent loom for the downtown housing sector in the coming season for the Columbia community.
A new complex, next to Chipotle on Ninth Street, is set to begin building at in early August and will be available for rent starting in December. The apartment complex, called The Lofts, will replace a parking lot.
The Brookside apartment complexes are entering the third phase of their expansion and will open in downtown Columbia in August. Two Brookside apartments are being built, and the new College Avenue location will have commercial space on its first floor.
Carrie Gartner, representative for The District, said the creation of the complexes will bring many good things to Columbia, most notably an increase in traffic Downtown and more economic opportunities.
“This is a great project because the population downtown will triple, which means more people downtown doing more,” she said. “The complex on Ninth Street will be built on underutilized property, which will put that area to better use, along with the addition of commercial property on the bottom which could make this a great project.”
Monthly rent at Brookside apartments will start at $757 per person and will include two bedrooms, bathrooms and amenities. On-campus housing can start at more than $2,500 a semester for residence halls such as Hatch, Hudson and Schurz.
Travis McGee, head contractor for The Lofts, said though the building will cater to a certain clientele, it will be accessible for everyone because of its location and amenities.
“Our building will have over 100,000 square feet with 24-hour security, a first of its kind in Columbia,” he said.
McGee also said the presence of a new building could create a hotbed of opportunities for many new students and businessmen to explore the downtown area further, making the area more profitable.
“The building will certainly create a nice impression downtown because it is across from the J school and is a vibrant area in the downtown community,” he said. “Also the traffic count compared to Elm Street is very large meaning that more people could come to our buildings, especially the pedestrians who are the most important for retailers.”
McGee further stated that prices will not be established until next fall.
Sophomore Cary Stough said he decided to live in the new Brookside location because he wanted a spacious apartment close to downtown.
“The appeal of Brookside was the fact that it will be more spacious, with my own bathroom,” Stough said. “Myself and my roommates could get access to the pool and food courts that will be there as well.”
Assistant City Manager Tony St. Romaine said though there could be some inconveniences regarding the construction of new building, benefits like economic growth will outweigh them.
“Any time that new buildings are constructed or renovated, new businesses are opened — all have a positive impact on the city's economy due to increasing property values and sales taxes,” he said.