emerging.me

Olympia Mill Village Updates

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More development planned for Olympia.

This is the Milltown Commons piece that has been planned for some time. It will be built on the old parking lots in front of the mills. As far as I know the name has not been changed to "Center" as the paper reports. Anyway... The plan is for it to include neighborhood-oriented businesses -- like a market/small grocer, pub, florist, bank, bakery, coffee shop, etc. The green space fronting Whaley will become a park. The news is, really, that Ron Kaplan is officially moving forward with the development. He was basically waiting to see if the first mill apartment conversion would be a success and waiting to hear how local government would aid neighborhood revitalization. With the first mill apartments almost full and the county and USC helping with community projects... it was a no-brainer for him, I guess. It's GREAT news! This is the piece that the area really needed to ensure it becomes a thriving in-town neighborhood. Olympia is firing on all cylinders!

Edited by emerging.me

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That's good to know, because the parking lot in front of the mills would definitely have to have SOMETHING there; it would just look out of place fronting high-end adaptive reuse mills.

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FYI... If you guys haven't gone down Whaley through Olympia recently you may not have noticed that construction has started on the Whaley Row townhomes along Whaley and Lincoln Street. Here's the website.

The design is pretty stock, but I'm happy to see more in-fill development for this area. Sounds like they will be quality construction.

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siteplanimage.jpg

The train track that runs between Phase I and Phase II is supposedly going to be abandoned at some point, but there's no timeframe on that as far as I know. As it is now... I can't think of another new development in Columbia where the train comes this close to the residences. But people are apparently paying around 250K for 'em... so whatever! :)

It is partially gated, but only along areas that don't interface with public spaces, so I'm okay with that I suppose. The front yards of the residences that front the Mill Village Riverlink portion of the greenway along Lincoln Street are not gated. (That is the perspective shown in the artwork above -- facing the townhomes from the greenway across the street.)

Edited by emerging.me

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The design is pretty mediocre, IMO. Did they have to put the garages in the front? Look how much of the front of each individual unit they take up! And what's up with the "enclosed courtyard" for each townhome? You wouldn't have to have those if open spaces were created. This is so suburban, and right in the heart of a historic neighborhood; it doesn't even look like it's trying to be urban. :( The townhomes that will be a part of CanalSide will be designed MUCH better, IMO. Even though it's infill, it's a little hard to get excited about this development; I think it's out of character for this neighborhood. Sorry to be a party pooper.

Edited by krazeeboi

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OK, on more of a positive note, here are some photos of what's going on at Olympia:

millsigns.jpg

olympia2.jpg

olympia.jpg

According to The State, Five Points businessman Richard Burts has extended a contract to buy the Gallery 701 building on Whaley Street. He has not announced his ideas for the building.

gallery701.jpg

Burts

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Nice pics! I believe the plan is to put a grocer in the new Milltown Commons development in front of the mills. Will try to get the scoop on what this guy's plan is for 701...

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I know we talkd about the "Ra Rock" earlier in this thread. It's set to get a facelift.

FYI... If you guys haven't gone down Whaley through Olympia recently you may not have noticed that construction has started on the Whaley Row townhomes along Whaley and Lincoln Street.

It sucks that this development will be gated--another aspect of this development out of character with this neighborhood. It gives an air of pretention to this humble neighborhood.

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It sucks that this development will be gated--another aspect of this development out of character with this neighborhood. It gives an air of pretention to this humble neighborhood.

Right on with that man. If folks are so terrified of an area that they have to gate themselves into their homes, then they should move somewhere else. The idea of building gated communities like this in an urban setting is beyond idiotic. It is so counterproductive in creating a really vibrant, active neighborhood. I can't believe that the city (or is Richland County?) would approve something like this. And I agree with your earlier comments, Krazeeboi, about the design of the houses themselves - really poor. They scream out "we didn't spend any money, at all, on an architect for this project!"

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Thanks for the pictures. I think the Gallery 701 building should be turned into a grocery store.

That would be nice and convenient for the people in that area. I wonder if it would be big enough for a Kroger.

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Right on with that man. If folks are so terrified of an area that they have to gate themselves into their homes, then they should move somewhere else. The idea of building gated communities like this in an urban setting is beyond idiotic. It is so counterproductive in creating a really vibrant, active neighborhood. I can't believe that the city (or is Richland County?) would approve something like this. And I agree with your earlier comments, Krazeeboi, about the design of the houses themselves - really poor. They scream out "we didn't spend any money, at all, on an architect for this project!"

That part is in the city...Guess it's bettr than just som train tracks

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Agreed... The city and the county are allocating money for road improvements in the area. Projects should begin later this summer or in fall.

And watch for a development announcement soon that will put these badly-designed townhouses to shame! More on that later! ;)

There goes EM again, hinting at stuff and not telling us. Bad EM, bad, bad. :wub:

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EM definitely keeps his ear to the ground. I would hope that it would be better designed and more urban in nature than Whaley Row.

I think Olympia is a great example of what we're beginning to see across the country as far as urban revitalization is concerned: a renewed emphasis upon neighborhoods. No longer are they places where people just "live," but they are becoming significant centers of urban activity within themselves. Washington, DC with its many funky, vibrant neighborhoods is an awesome example of a city with strong neighborhoods that Columbia should seek to emulate in this regard--on a much smaller scale, of course.

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I know we talkd about the "Ra Rock" earlier in this thread. It's set to get a facelift.

It sucks that this development will be gated--another aspect of this development out of character with this neighborhood. It gives an air of pretention to this humble neighborhood.

Krazee, as usual, I agree with you whole-heartedly . . this time about this Whaley Row project. What is with the looooong expanse of grass and loooong driveways? If the builders would just build them as urban townhomes as they should be UP TO THE SIDEWALK, and put the garages 'round back, imagine how HUGE the units could have been. Geez! These guys really are pretty dim . .

I hate to say it, but these will serve as student housing for awhile, the residents will hate their lack of style and proximity to blaring trains, and they will become slums in no time. Better-designed infill nearby will contribute to this quick decline in property value. Anyone who buys here is a fool (unless the "planners" go back to the drawing boards tomorrow . . yeah, right.) :rofl:

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Good to see you back in the fray, digital_sandlapper! This development should have been rejected from the outset in its present form, no hesitation.

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And watch for a development announcement soon that will put these badly-designed townhouses to shame! More on that later! ;)

OK EM, how much "later" will we have to wait on an announcement? :)

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Ha! You know I keep you on your toes. :thumbsup:

Olympia needs something "big," something that will make it a bit more of a destination. We need a report on pending plans for the old Gallery 701 building pronto! :D

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Ha! You know I keep you on your toes. :thumbsup:

Olympia needs something "big," something that will make it a bit more of a destination. We need a report on pending plans for the old Gallery 701 building pronto! :D

Ha! Yeah it does need something big. I don't know if it'll get a "destination" type development other than the stuff that's going to go in near Granby -- USC baseball stadium and nearby shops and some new homes. The biggest shoot in the arm will be the neighborhood-oriented shopping and the new park coming to Milltown Center and Commons-- the old parking lot and green in front of the mills. Those amenities will make it a truly sustainable neighbhorhood again. The restoration of Rocky Branch and continued greeway develoment should also bring Olympia Park back to life and free up some nearby blighted property for redevelopment.

To spill the beans a little... I am working with some friends to make something special happen there on the residential tip, but there's nothing really I can say about it yet as it isn't official. Hopefully soon!! It won't be anything earth-shattering, but it will be unique. And we have already gotten interest from Dwell Magazine, which I think is pretty awesome considering nothing has been built yet! Here's hoping...

Edited by emerging.me

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Looks like the future is pretty bright for Olympia. I think Olympia may eventually serve as a connector between the residential area being created in the stadium area and the Vista. Makes me wonder about the future of Assembly south of Blossom.

I wish you nothing but the best in your endeavor, EM. Keep us posted. :thumbsup:

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An Olympia area update...

If you have recently driven down Lincoln Street, in front of where the Whaley Row townhomes are being constructed -- behind Cap City Stadium -- you may have noticed that the GROW Cafe building is being repainted. Does anyone know what's going on there? I need to get some pics up! They were just starting on it when I rode by last weekend -- it looked like they were doing some funky stuff. I hope they didn't paint over the Hulk. :) There is also a piece of land across the street that is being cleared off. Watch for more news on that in the coming months. ;)

Edited by emerging.me

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Are you speaking of the narrow stretch of Lincoln south of USC's Greek Village? I'll have to take a peek at that area next time I'm down there.

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