$400 Million in Private Development Has Sprouted From Columbia Parks


July 18, 2008

By Jeff Wilkinson – The State

About $400 million in private development has popped up around the Three Rivers Greenway since construction of the line of riverfront parks began in 1997.

Not bad on an initial public investment of $7 million to build them.

And the greenway is expected to continue to be the backbone of growth on both sides of the Congaree, said Mike Dawson, executive director of the River Alliance, a regional, nonprofit group that guides investment along the rivers.

“We had two strategic priorities,” he said. “Opening up the river to public access and increasing the tax base. In both respects, the greenway is doing its job and will continue to do it.”

So far, a total of 14 private projects with links to the greenway — residential, retail and office — have been built, are being constructed or are close to breaking ground.

That’s a remarkable new tax base for a city that once turned its back to the river.

Jim Smith, outgoing chairman of the River Alliance, said the number of projects is expected to swell in coming years. More projects are in the pipeline, he said, and, when the economy improves, the startups should come quickly.

The greenway “has had an extraordinary impact in both Lexington and Richland counties,” said Smith, executive vice president of the National Bank of South Carolina. “And this is just the beginning.”

Large new sections of the planned 13-mile park system along the Saluda, Broad and Congaree rivers are expected to increase awareness of the river parks, as well as link them to more neighborhoods and undeveloped land.

Those new sections are expected to attract more people. In theory, the more people using the parks, the more people living and working near them. That, in turn, spurs more development.




Be Sociable, Share!
    Categories : Columbia

    Comments are closed.