Sep
07

Columbia CBD Facing Parking Crunch

By

Downtown Columbia is headed for a parking crunch – growing pains for a rapidly redeveloping Main Street that has attracted hundreds of new residents, workers and businesses in recent months.

The situation has the city scrambling to find a way to accommodate the people it has worked so hard to attract to the corridor for more than a decade. The city spent a record $1.7 million in parking discounts to attract The Hub, a new 850-bed student housing high-rise that opened last month, according to internal city of Columbia communications obtained by The State newspaper. But the influx of students and young professionals is limiting access and increasing parking costs for the employees of at least one business.

Ultimately, the parking issue might be more of a matter of readjusting to the new level of activity downtown, said Tom Prioreschi, owner of Capitol Places, a downtown apartment rental company headquartered along Main Street with hundreds of tenants in place.

Prioreschi was one of the first developers to take a chance on Main Street in the late 1990s. Redevelopment was painfully slow until about three years ago when Mast General Store opened, spurring a rash of restaurants, retailers and residents to move to the street.

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