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I went to this tonight WOW. I did a casual head count and I had over 1000 people on Main St tonight. The retail stores were packed, condos packed, music, dance, art,... it was absolutely amazing

comingtocolumbia - I have never seen Main Street so crowded - entertainment was great and it was great to see what Main St. can become. Hope they keep up the momentum

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Glad to hear the event was well-attended! Wish someone would have snapped some pictures.

Hopefully the second phase of the streetscaping will commence in January without any further setbacks. I look forward to seeing the investment that will occur afterwards.

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I was there also, but didn't stay long for the entertainment as I had a very tired kid on tow. It was nice to imagine what this place could be in a few years. It's amazing how many nice little nooks and crannies I had never noticed before at daylight, nice tastefully lit places perfect for a few cafe tables. The area is in desperate need for a few restaurants that are open in the evening, though. The pedestrian-friendliness of the street was even noticed by my 5-year old who loved it.

I hope this little 'street festival' can be a frequent event, possibly with different themes.

Shall we help the organizers with a bit of brainstorming on what to do better or just different next time?

Here area few suggestions:

- in stead of one looong line for free food, how about a few stands where you can buy snacks, for example ethnic foods?

- more sidewalk tables and chairs to encourage people to hang out longer

- let the entertainment be more organized with a program. Who's doing what where and when. Any specifics on what kinds of entertainment you'd like to see?

- get some of those daytime only sandwich/coffee places to be open. Maybe with some live music (chamber music, jazz etc) or dance (tango, salsa, shag etc) inside.

- shortfilm projections on an exterior wall. (I believe they have something like this in mind, and I can only encourage it)

- street theater sketches/happenings

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On the urban tour the other night, one of the people punching the cards for the drawing said the owner of the Tapps building is looking into converting it to condos. I don't know if this is accurate info or not. Just figured that since I heard it I'd post it.

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On the urban tour the other night, one of the people punching the cards for the drawing said the owner of the Tapps building is looking into converting it to condos. I don't know if this is accurate info or not. Just figured that since I heard it I'd post it.

I thought it already WAS condos over the health club on the first floor?

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There's an article in today's edition of The State about the success of Urban Tour '07, but talks about how businesses (e.g., restaurants, shops) have been slow to relocate along Main. I think the article itself hits on two of the three reasons why this is happening: 1) more business will relocate along Main as more residents move into the area, and 2) the disconnect between Main and the Vista (Assembly) hinders Main from tapping into the energy and vibe of the Vista, which includes restaurants and retail. The third factor in all of this is the completion of the streetscaping project. I do believe that investment will follow, especially since Main north of Hampton is where most of the commercial spaces on Main are located.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Here are the minutes pertaining to the Main Street retail strategy from the city council meeting in September (pp. 3-5). I think Kirkman Finlay asked the most pertinent question regarding what might most hinder this strategy from being fully realized, which is the homeless situation. Unfortunately, since the city decided to abandon the community-wide strategy for dealing with the problem (which was the best solution IMO), I think this will prove to be a real roadblock in the long run.
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Here are the minutes pertaining to the Main Street retail strategy from the city council meeting in September (pp. 3-5). I think Kirkman Finlay asked the most pertinent question regarding what might most hinder this strategy from being fully realized, which is the homeless situation. Unfortunately, since the city decided to abandon the community-wide strategy for dealing with the problem (which was the best solution IMO), I think this will prove to be a real roadblock in the long run.

Why is Finlay asking what is being done about the homeless? Isn't that City Councils Job to figure out? What is he doing about it? His buddy Tomlin pretty much screwed up the centralized homeless shelter. So what, don't invest money on Main St until the homeless issue is resolved? You cannot stop economic development until all the problems go away. If you look at Main Street from 7 years ago until now - it has made tremendous strides - especially since no TIF was created to help spur growth in that area and no development corporation helping make deals happen.

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Why is Finlay asking what is being done about the homeless? Isn't that City Councils Job to figure out? What is he doing about it? His buddy Tomlin pretty much screwed up the centralized homeless shelter. So what, don't invest money on Main St until the homeless issue is resolved? You cannot stop economic development until all the problems go away. If you look at Main Street from 7 years ago until now - it has made tremendous strides - especially since no TIF was created to help spur growth in that area and no development corporation helping make deals happen.

Using the Babcock building as a temporary homeless "one-stop shop" facility was only one option among others to getting that concept jumpstarted in the city. The fact of the matter is that Coble, who just doesn't want to take the unpopular stances that comes with the mayoral territory, scuttled the idea in favor of just the Housing First program when there was nothing preventing both programs from happening. Furthermore, Finlay wasn't saying that the retail strategy shouldn't be implemented, but only that in absence of doing more to solve the homeless problem downtown, implementing the strategy isn't going to be as smooth.

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Anybody know when the Sheraton in the Palmetto Building is scheduled to open?

Their banner says "see you in the spring," and they have a crew there all the time every day. "The State" just had a blurb the other day confirming the purchase of the old bank across the street for the Sheraton's meeting room.

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Anybody know when the Sheraton in the Palmetto Building is scheduled to open?

They are definitely working in there every day, but I understand the renovation project ended up being very tedious. It does not look like it will be ready in the spring; hopefully it will be ready by the end of summer and the start of next football season.

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Well, they've got to take their time with this, since this is one of Columbia's oldest structures. They've gotta do it right, even if it takes a little longer.

I'm assuming the next phase of the streetscaping is still set to begin in the first quarter of next year?

Is 1556 Main making any progress, or does it still look like things are at a standstill?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was told this morning that First Citizen's Bank has long-term interest in developing the corner lot across from their headquarters at Lady and Main, but for right now they are making it into a little urban park. They are building the park now. Already they have laid an all brick, bow-shaped walkway through the heart of the lot, from the Main Street sidewalk to the Lady Street sidewalk. And they have little flags of different colors in the ground all over the lot marking where different things will be.

I understand that this little park is only temporary, but I really think they could have put some more imagination into it. All it is is a brick walkway with some planted turf and a few bushes at the periphery. I mean, couldn't they have tried to make it just a little interactive, with a few benches and a fountain or sculpture or something? As is, it's nothing but a shortcut from Main to Lady and vice versa. There's nothing to even attract just a little attention and make someone stay for a little while. Looking at this and the little park/plaza thing on the side of their HQ tower, I think I can say that open spaces are not First Citizen's strong suit.

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Anybody know when the Sheraton in the Palmetto Building is scheduled to open?

Again, when I talked to one of the project managers, they stated the building was in far worst shape than they had thought and now they expect to open around christmas of 2008 or worst case mid 2009. They have to replace steel beams, and bring the building up to code then make it effective to serve as a hotel.

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Again, when I talked to one of the project managers, they stated the building was in far worst shape than they had thought and now they expect to open around christmas of 2008 or worst case mid 2009. They have to replace steel beams, and bring the building up to code then make it effective to serve as a hotel.

Wow, was it that bad? Oh well, like I said, they've gotta take their time and make sure they do it right, no matter how long it takes.

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I'm glad to see that they're taking their time with the renovation, but I can't believe they even needed to replace steel beams. It is a darn good thing the developer apparently has deep pockets or this project might not have had a chance. I always have heard that a tornado, during construction, bent some of the Palmetto Building's beams. I bet those are the ones that were replaced.

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