mainstreeter

Main Street/CBD Developments

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Any city you go to, you go to the heart of the city (Main St) and that usually tells you how the city is doing. This is not necessarily true in Columbia because I believe it is moving in a positive direction but Main St is dead after 5pm. Problem is perception is reality and visitors not always think about Columbia in a positive way due to the lack of things to do in the center city.

What do you think the goal of private and public money should go towards on Main Street?

What kind of retail should be brought on Main St?

What kind of festivals and or events?

I would love to hear some ideas and maybe actually work to accomplish some of them.

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The purchase of the old Ritz theater by the Nickelodeon is certainly a positive step. I know the Workshop Theater has been trying to purchase the old bank building between the Barrenger Building and the Washington Street entrance of the Arcade Building which would of course be another positive step.

We NEED something for young people to do also. The empty space between the two glass towers across from the Wachovia Building would be a great place for an outdoor ice or roller rink. If the city would put in a world class skateboard park there that would be an attraction not only for our youth but out of the area youth also. Having lived in Philadelphia, PA, I remember how Love park attracted skateboarding youth from all over the country and Europe.

Since Columbia is named after Christopher Columbus, I have suggested in a number of different places that we replace the Three Rivers Festival with a Christopher Columbus birthday party. Main Street just might be the right place for that....One big block part from Gervais to Laurel with band trailers setup on selected side streets.

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The purchase of the old Ritz theater by the Nickelodeon is certainly a positive step.  I know the Workshop Theater has been trying to purchase the old bank building between the Barrenger Building and the Washington Street entrance of the Arcade Building which would of course be another positive step.

We NEED something for young people to do also.  The empty space between the two glass towers across from the Wachovia Building would be a great place for an outdoor ice or roller rink.  If the city would put in a world class skateboard park there that would be an attraction not only for our youth but out of the area youth also.  Having lived in Philadelphia, PA, I remember how Love park attracted skateboarding youth from all over the country and Europe.

Since Columbia is named after Christopher Columbus, I have suggested in a number of different places that we replace the Three Rivers Festival with a Christopher Columbus birthday party.  Main Street just might be the right place for that....One big block part from Gervais to Laurel with band trailers setup on selected side streets.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I think the city has tried to distance itself from its naming origin because of how controversial Columbus was as a man.

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Any city you go to, you go to the heart of the city (Main St) and that usually tells you how the city is doing.
Edited by emerging.me

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Just look at Greenville's success. Take the model and run with it. Just be creative and add your own twist to keep the identity of each city unique.

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Just look at Greenville's success. Take the model and run with it. Just be creative and add your own twist to keep the identity of each city unique.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

You can't really compare DT Greenville and DT Columbia. Greenville's focus is on Main Street while Columbia's is on The Vista and Five Points, both sections of the downtown area. Main Street's focus has never been on nightlife, but on business.

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I still think that what Main St needs is a major overhaul to the crap that lines it- particularly the Southern end of it where all of the towers are. Columbia's skyscrapers look very nice from a distance, but up close and personal, they suck. They offer nothing for the everage pedestrian to stop and look at unless they like highly reflective windows. They should be rennovated to allow for restaurants and shops, and minimize the blank walls that these towers provide.

The mid blocks of Main above Hampton, where there are still many blocks of existing retail stores woudl be a great place to start. All that is needed there is something for people to go to. In our past thread that covered a similar topic I mentioned that a moderately well known chain restaurant, like Sticky Fingers, could give people a reason to go to someplace unknown, like Main St, without the fear of something unfamiliar, and this could start the ball on more local businesses and restaurants moving to Main St.

I have never thought of Main St as unsafe. I used to run up to Elmwood and back from campus... never any problems except exhaustion :) I have also walked to the Adam's Mark for various events from USC. Maybe its just because it was that "home territory" for me. I am not sure.

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As if right on cue, The State has an article regarding bridging the gap between the Vista and Main Street. Lots of good info in there, but it's already 5am and I want to get enough rest so I can get up and go to church, so I'll be back to comment later. :)

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That was indeed an interesting article. It highlights the differences very well. It doesn't say much about what could be done to change that though.

There are 116 housing units in existance (on Main), and another 107 planned. I suspect that 107 is all within the Barringer building and one or two other smaller ones.

This is basicly what I was saying above:

"The towers replace lively and inviting storefronts with cold, blank walls that intimidate pedestrians, especially at night. 'In general, you want that street-level retail so you have life after 5 p.m.,' USC

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I'm not sure, but one thing I certainly agreed with in the article: it's dark on Main Street at night. They need to do something about that.

I actually didn't know that the Vista started out as an arts district. As the article said, it certainly doesn't have that image now; it's definitely more of an entertainment destination, which isn't a bad thing.

I think another problem with Main Street is that some of the stores simply look outdated, IMO. There's a difference between historic significance and being outdated. The House of Fabrics store comes to mind; makes me shudder thinking about it.

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"Columbia's skyscrapers look very nice from a distance, but up close and personal, they suck. They offer nothing for the everage pedestrian to stop and look at unless they like highly reflective windows. They should be rennovated to allow for restaurants and shops, and minimize the blank walls that these towers provide."

Spartan:

You are 100% correct. The bigest 'street killers' are the reflective and/or no see through glass at street, street level parking lots, and blank walls. The last block of Main Street will never recover its pedestrian traffic until something is done about the existance of all three of these items.

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You can't really compare DT Greenville and DT Columbia. Greenville's focus is on Main Street while Columbia's is on The Vista and Five Points, both sections of the downtown area. Main Street's focus has never been on nightlife, but on business.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I would have to disagree. Look at Greenville's Historic WestEnd District. It's now thriving and growing rapidly. One thing that all of DT Greenville offers is FREE PARKING on nights and weekends -- on the street and in garages across downtown. Festivals-- We do very well in that as well. Fall For Greenville is very popular among others. Columbia could do very well with festivals in those sections of DT with a festival during the fall or spring while USC is in-session. JMO

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There are outdoor concerts every Thursday in the Fall in both the Vista and Five Points that draw very well. Also, there is a USC pep rally with live bands, food and drink in the Vista on the Friday night before every SEC home game. I would consider all of these events to be festivals and they do quite well.

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There are outdoor concerts every Thursday in the Fall in both the Vista and Five Points that draw very well. Also, there is a USC pep rally with live bands, food and drink in the Vista on the Friday night before every SEC home game. I would consider all of these events to be festivals and they do quite well.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

They aren't festivals per se, but they accomplish the same thing- they bring people downtown. What if tehy did a Man St Music on some other day during the week? Or even some other type of event to bring people to Main St?

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There are outdoor concerts every Thursday in the Fall in both the Vista and Five Points that draw very well. Also, there is a USC pep rally with live bands, food and drink in the Vista on the Friday night before every SEC home game. I would consider all of these events to be festivals and they do quite well.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Well, you have to draw from the whole community, the college scene just has to add to mix. Obviously festivals can't do it by themselves, but it's even more obvious that there's something lacking from these "events" that don't draw businesses to the area and further development...

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Well, you have to draw from the whole community, the college scene just has to add to mix. Obviously festivals can't do it by themselves, but it's even more obvious that there's something lacking from these "events" that don't draw businesses to the area and further development...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I'm not really sure where the opinion comes from that businesses aren't drawn to the Vista and Five Points. Both are very successful areas. The Vista has seen hundreds of millions of dollars in development in the last 5 years with more to come. Five Points is in the midst of a beautification project and nearly every space in Five Points is leased. Main Street has a number of residential and office developments in process at the moment. The issue seems to be that Main Street doesn't have a nightlife. That may be true, but with the nightlfe in other parts of downtown (Five Points and the Vista), does Main Street really need to have an extensive nightlife? With hundreds of residential units under construction on Main Street, I believe a certain amount of nightlife will come about just because of additional residents. Main Street will never rival the Vista or Five Points, though.

P.S. The Thursday night concerts' audience is not primarily college students, nor is the pep rally. The majority of people attending these events are young professionals who work and/or live downtown, with a smattering of students.

Edited by waccamatt

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They aren't festivals per se, but they accomplish the same thing- they bring people downtown. What if tehy did a Man St Music on some other day during the week? Or even  some other type of event to bring people to Main St?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree...however Main St. is at a "chicken or the egg" moment. You need stores/restaurants/bars to get people to main st...but you need people to get those businesses to locate there in the first place. Having a "Music on Main" similar to spartanburg, along with a number of restaurants and bars (maybe upscale shopping) on main street would do WONDERS for the perception of downtown within the columbia area. Lots of people (myself included) work downtown, and having something like that after work that we could walk to would draw in LOTS of upper/middle class customers, and lots of young professionals.

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I still think Main Street needs to develop the capacity to draw folks after 5pm, and it shouldn't have to wait until residential highrises are built IMO; if anything, that should spark a lot more interest in DT living. One thing that the article mentioned was the lack of decent restaurants on Main. Sandwich shops just don't cut it all of time; there needs to be more variety in dining options there. I don't think the distinct areas need to compete, but they should all definitely complement each other. The Vista and Main Street should have a decent amount of pedestrians/patrons during the day AND the during the night.

Edited by krazeeboi

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"Columbia's skyscrapers look very nice from a distance, but up close and personal, they suck. They offer nothing for the everage pedestrian to stop and look at unless they like highly reflective windows. They should be rennovated to allow for restaurants and shops, and minimize the blank walls that these towers provide."

Spartan:

You are 100% correct.

Edited by vicupstate

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Vic, right on. Identity -- purpose and personality -- of these different areas is key. I think that's one of the many things that would be solved by having DPZ draw up a city-wide, and possibly regional, plan for the area. The mayor has pitched this idea, but I don't know what the next step is. I'd be willing to make calls or write letters to advocate such a plan if I knew what to do.

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I took this pic from waccamatt's website and just wanted to post it here for comparison purposes. It seems to be from the 50's or 60's:

comnst.jpg

Interesting.

Question: Do you guys think the name "Main Street" should be changed? Do you guys think it's too "small townish" for Columbia?

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