Sounds About Right.

I've been fairly obsessed lately with reading about the proposed changes to 9th and Locust in downtown Columbia.  And if you aren't familiar, a developer is proposing to demolish the buildings that currently house Quinton's Bar and the Britches clothing store (as well as an existing condominium building).  And once those buildings are demolished, the developer plans to build...wait for it...wait for it...wait for it...STUDENT HOUSING.  Insert here the entire City of Columbia rolling their eyes. eyeroll

The plan calls for a 10-story building, with retail space on the main floor, a second level parking garage, and the rest of the floors housing two, three, and four bedroom rentals.  Which is all sort of ironic because let us all remember when Quinton's built their rooftop balcony in 2008 and caused all sorts of drama within the city council about whether or not balconies encroach upon public right-of-way and thus need special building permits.  Turns out demolishing a building seven years later and just building up 10 stories is fine...(as long as no one gets a balcony).  Sigh.

Let's start with the obvious...anyone who as been on this area of south 9th street knows the charm and history found in the current buildings.  And anyone who has had a cocktail on the rooftop at Quinton's knows the view of Columbia below is beautiful.  And even if we don't care about charm or cocktails (but let's face it, we do), creating the same footprint of retail and student housing all over downtown Columbia slowly makes our city lose the unique charm that so many find compelling.

And then let's get to the real point...the city council claims to not have any real jurisdiction over what is built in the space, only over whether the lots can be combined in that area into one parcel.  Are you kidding me?  The city council seems to exist on the belief that their jurisdiction reaches every inch of Columbia.  CVS has worked for several years to bring a large store to downtown Columbia that would generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue AND employ a large number of people.  Except the city council isn't going for it because of concerns about the sewer and the aesthetic design of the building.  But, when a California-based company proposes to build a high-rise building to house hundreds of college students, there is simply no discussion about the increase on infrastructure in the area, building height restrictions, a second-floor parking garage, or what the influx of resident traffic looks like on the 9th and Locust intersection.

Sounds about right.