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803metlife

Is Columbia the Next BIG thing

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There is definetly alot of momentum going on in the Midlands area. Columbia is starting to recieve more and more exposure. Does anyone feel that Columbia might be the next big thing coming from the south. For everyone who doesn't feel like Columbia will not be the next big thing please explain.

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Columbia's growth is definitely accelerating, but I think it is still to early to tell if we will see the explosive growth that Raleigh, Charlotte, Atlanta and Orlando have experienced. We are somewhat handcuffed by a miserable state legislature.

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Actually, I really think so. I think that Columbia's momentum will place it on a level above many of its current peer cities. From what I can see, based on what's on their drawing boards, Columbia's "competition" throughout the South (aside from SC's other two major metros) would be Baton Rouge (Katrina helped them out with that), Little Rock, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and maybe Lexington KY. Depending on what comes out of Columbia and these cities over the coming years, Columbia may very well indeed start to pull away from the pack and begin to distinguish itself as a regional player in the South.

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If things are done right Columbia is probablly 10-20 years from becoming a significant regional city ie (charlotte, nashville, orlando, etc.) most things are already set in place the area just needs to prepare well and act. Which it seems to be doing a good job of both right now! One positive sign about the city and its metro is that it is constantly growing. Of course not at the same level ATL, CLT, & RDU are but considering southern migration trends I seriously doubt it will slow down or stop anytime soon especially with worldclass type of appeal innovista seems to be turing out to be.

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Yeah. I think 20 years from now it'll be a recognized regional city...Just alone since 2000 so many things have gotton built and announced...Just think about the next couple of years and more ahead in the future. Things are just beginning.

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I've often thought about this... will South Carolina have a city that's recognizable like Atlanta? that's known by EVERYONE around the nation? (you get what I'm saying...) Anyway what I'm getting at is that size makes a city more recognizable. So, as South Carolina's cities become larger, a lot of other cities will too. So, will we stay where we are in terms of recognition?

Hmm in case that doesn't make sense, let's try to clarify a bit. As Columbia gets larger, I'm assuming so does Charlotte, Atlanta, Raleigh... So will Columbia just be larger but still over shadowed by other regional players that continue to grow as well?

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I understand what you're saying. It's really unfortunate that our cities are 3rd round draft picks (after Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Miami--1st round picks and Charlotte, Nashville, Tampa, Jacksonville, Raleigh, Norfolk, etc.--2nd round picks), which means we have a lot of catching up to do. Our cities just have to distinguish themselves in some way that make them stand out in a way that's different than the South's current boomtowns. I think Austin provides some inspiration here. Long overshadowed by Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, and San Antonio, it has risen to a place in which it demands regional and even national attention. It's feel and vibe is different than those other Texas cities, and most cities in the South as well. With all of Columbia's advantages, I think it really stands a chance. A city partnering with a university to create high-tech, high paying jobs coupled with urban development along a riverfront bodes well for Columbia. I can't think of any other city in the nation that has a combination of all of these advantages, except perhaps Austin itself (which Columbia looks to as a model). Furthermore, as the cost of living continues to increase in the current boomtowns and as they continue to get more crowded and congested with strained infrastructure, the smaller up-and-coming cities (such as our major cities) will begin to be looked upon as viable options.

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I've often thought about this... will South Carolina have a city that's recognizable like Atlanta? that's known by EVERYONE around the nation? (you get what I'm saying...)

Yes, South Carolina already has this. The name is Myrtle Beach.

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LOL, you are correct about that. But I believe GvilleSC means a place in the state noted for something other than tourism alone--a well-rounded city with a strong, diversified economic base with the population and amenities to go along with that.

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Ahh. Ok well it might be a while for that to happen because there are not any cities of Atlanta's size in SC. I would say the Charleston is most likely the most recognizible but it suffers from the "CH" syndrome.

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True about Myrtle Beach, monsoon. Why does everyone forget that?

I don't think we have enough happening to actually become THE "next big thing" in the South. Sure, we're ahead of the game in a few areas, but we trail in many others and it is highly unlikely that this will change enough to suddenly become the greatest rising star in the South. With the continual population growth across the nation, most, if not all cities in the Southeast will continue to see significant changes. What I see happening here is that our cities are becoming more noticed in a subtle way. More people are seeing what we have to offer, but it takes a little extra effort to get them to move here, since we're not as well known or popular. It seems our cities are catching the eyes of important people more and more, and this trend will continue to snowball. The question is, will the other cities slow down before we do?

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Well, understand, the question is will Columbia become the next big thing in the South--in other words, we're talking about increased regional exposure here, not necessarily national exposure. Aside from the South's four largest metros (Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Miami), the regional players would be Charlotte, Nashville, Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, Birmingham, Louisville, New Orleans (a little iffy there post-Katrina), Memphis, Norfolk, Austin, San Antonio, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and Richmond (the "2nd round draft picks")--the Texas and Oklahoma cities less so, due to their Southern and Southwestern influences. That said, although Charlotte often gets confused with other cities due to the "Ch" factor, it is still pretty much recognized as a regional player in the South. However, it didn't rise to prominence by itself, as a lot of those other cities began receiving more attention around the same time. So Columbia (or Greenville or Charleston) won't become THE "next big thing," but it certainly has the ingredients to become A "next big thing." I think the important thing here is to understand where Columbia falls in the hierarchy and then compare the city to its peers and then see if it has what it takes to break away from the rest of the pack.

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Answering the question at the top, I'd say no. All one has to do is visit a few of the other Southern cities experiencing equal to greater growth and there is definitely a shortfall. Hopefully we will find a way to accelerate our appeal above these places. Until that happens, the answer remains no. Obviously, if you live in Columbia, you're going to say that it is the next big thing, because for you it is, just as people living in other cities view theirs as the next big thing.

Edit: Perhaps Steve Spurrier will be the catalyst to push Cola over the top?

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Ok, here are the cities in Columbia's league in the South--these would be cities with MSAs between 500K-1M (according to 2004 estimates).

Raleigh-Cary, NC						   914,680

Tulsa, OK								  881,815

Baton Rouge, LA							728,731

El Paso, TX								713,126

Greensboro-High Point, NC				  667,542

Knoxville, TN							  647,170

Little Rock-N. Little Rock, AR			 636,636

Greenville, SC							 583,867

Charleston-N. Charleston, SC			   583,434

Jackson, MS								517,275

Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC			 515,314

Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL				  514,295

Now, to tweak the list a bit. Raleigh's MSA, with its high growth rate, has more than likely already hit the 1M mark, plus it's a bit farther along than the vast majority of these other places. Baton Rouge may also be off this list due to Katrina evacuees that have relocated to the area. I would also place Chattanooga on the list, as its MSA in 2004 was 489,609, so it's probably closer to or has already hit 500K by now. Also, due to fragmentation of the original MSA by the Census Bureau, I would also include Durham and Winston-Salem on this list (even though their MSAs are less than 500K presently). And just for reference, Columbia's MSA is currently at ~689,000.

Now, off the bat, I know that we can eliminate Augusta and Jackson--simply not much going on there or planned at present.

In terms of urban development, I don't see as much planned for Greensboro and Winston-Salem within their respective cores, although they are working on a regional plan; Greensboro, however, is in the running for a Toyota plant. Little Rock is an obvious contender here. Cape Coral-Fort Myers is experiencing a boom right about now, but from what I understand, that's moreso tourism/retirement related, not necessarily having anything to do with urban or economic development. Even so, it's still significant. Don't know much about El Paso. Durham has a good bit planned from what I read, and having RTP within its county limits is definitely a plus, but it also suffers from a negative image. And for the most part, we know what's going on within our other two metros (or at least we should know). I also don't see much from Knoxville, although it's been growing at about the same rate as Columbia. Chattanooga, on the other hand, is really experiencing a downtown renaissance, especially along its waterfront. However, I don't see much happening there economically. I'm not too sure about Tulsa either.

Now, note that all of these comparisons are based on what's currently going on in these cities as well as what's planned/proposed. With that said, I truly believe that Columbia stands a chance based on Innovista, which combines economic development with urban development. Even apart from that, all of the residential developments happening within the core or within close proximity are impressive: Renaissance Plaza, CanalSide, 1520 Main, 1556 Main, Barringer Building conversion, Olympia and Granby mill conversions, Carolina Walk, the Spur at Williams-Brice, Stadium Village Lofts--all of which are currently under construction. This amounts to around 1,500 residential units under construction if you factor in CanalSide, at 750 units, being built in phases (counting the entire development, you'd have 2,000 units). Then you have the residential developments that are planned: Bull Street project (1250 units), Adesso (6-story, 115-unit condo mid-rise), The Lofts at Printers Square (11 condos and 3 penthouses), The Gates at Williams Brice (158 units; demolition has already begun), the Kline Steel project, and The Battery at Arsenal Hill (44-51 units)--at least another 1,500 units (and I'm sure I'm forgetting some). Two new towers within the past two years indicates a strong, growing office market. As a matter of fact, at present, Columbia has more office space within its CBD than Raleigh, making it the city with the 2nd largest CBD office market in the Carolinas. Columbia also has two hotels under construction (convention center Hilton and a 5-star Sheraton), streetscapings underway/planned, a neighborhood revitalization occurring (Rosewood), another hotel and more office space planned at the Kline site, and the conversion of Richland Mall into Midtown at Forest Acres complete with residential units planned to get underway this summer (of which about 90% have been presold, if memory serves me correct).

With all that said, while Columbia might not be the only one destined to become "the next big thing" (because we know Greenville and Charleston are along for the ride :)), I believe the evidence shows that it is most certainly headed in that direction.

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Answering the question at the top, I'd say no.

Surprise, surprise. But Greenville's the next New York City, right? :)

(just a little good natured ribbing there)

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Nice Analysis Krazee :thumbsup:

Columbia IS going somewhere for sure, hopefully as you pointed out, faster than most of the other cities in its league. Just think, if SC was Georgia and had ONE major city and you could throw Greenville's momentum and Charleston's momentum behind the capital city... WOW :shok:

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That WOULD be something, but something I'd rather not see. I think our situation in SC is much better, as far as our metros being more evenly spread and essentially equal. But if Atlanta were in SC, the entire state's population would be in its metro area. shok.gif

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The cool thing to think about is what would Charlotte or Atlanta look like if they had started with a strong urban growth pattern, and not just a suburban one? Columbia is well poised to become the next big thing if it plays its cards right. I am certain that if things can get rolling, some of the alumni from the number 1 business school in the nation might consider investing in the area....

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Good point about urbanity, Spartan.

And I have wondered why USC's strong reputation in the international business field hasn't translated to more international investment in Columbia (and a busier airport).

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Now, to tweak the list a bit. Raleigh's MSA, with its high growth rate, has more than likely already hit the 1M mark, plus it's a bit farther along than the vast majority of these other places.

The reality of the situation is that it is already well beyond 1,000,000 as the MSA no longer includes Durham next door even though these cities are so close they share an airport, a city limits line, and are building a transit system to connect the two. In the 2000 census the RDU MSA was one, but the census split it into two MSAs into 2003. This is an example of what I have mentioned before that increased population growth doesn't mean that more will be added to a MSA. Many times it means a MSA will be split. The same thing happened to the Greensboro, Winston-Salem MSA.

You can have this argument I guess based strictly on MSA boundries, but it hides the fact of how large the Metro areas are in NC compared to that of SC. Remember MSA's are determined solely by commuting patterns. In the RDU case, a huge number of people work in RTP, which by NC Law is in neither city. In the Greensboro, Winston-Salem case, they have done a better job at containing sprawl so there is not a huge number of commuters running between the two cities even though they are right next door to each other.

  • Raleigh-Cary MSA - 914,680

  • Durham-Chapel Hill MSA - 451,212

  • Total Triangle - 1,365,892

  • Greensboro - High Point MSA - 667,574 (Same size as Columbia MSA)

  • Winston - Salem MSA - 441,607

  • Total Triad - 1,109,181

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The comparison to Austin is perfect. As we were looking at houses for our move to Columbia this summer, I told our agent that Columbia reminded me a lot of Austin back in the early eighties (we use to live in Houston and visited there often). A combination of creative class, entrepeneurs and upper-income professionals from both Coasts and the midwest flocked there during the seventies and eighties. There are only two things that might hold Columbia back somewhat from experiencing similar growth (from an outsiders perspective):

1) the perception of the South Carolina school system being below average. If the reputation of the SC school system was as good as even NC, professional people (and corporations) from at least the upper East Coast (IMO)would be moving here faster than they are already, and,

2) the perception of South Carolina as being very right-wing. That is troubling to, not only liberals, but moderates as well (a big part of the educated, mid to upper income demographic).

Its unfortunate that Columbia gets tarred with the statewide brush, because from my research, there are some great schools here and the diversity of the Columbia population makes for a more moderate environment. I've made the Austin comparison to numerous colleagues who wonder why we would want to live in a place with the above two drawbacks.

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So it sounds like the Raleigh-Durham MSA's boundaries are much like those of Greenville-Spartanburg; in 2000, they were the same MSA, but in 2003 they were split (Raleigh, Durham, Greenville, and Spartanburg each their own MSA's). Some speculate that in 2010 RDU will once again be one MSA, as will GSP. It will be interesting to see what happens, especially since that definition easily puts both metros over the 1 million population mark.

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Surprise, surprise. But Greenville's the next New York City, right? :)

(just a little good natured ribbing there)

I'll play along. :lol: Not NYC, but something better.

I intended to say that yes, to some, Cola is the next big thing, while others see it differently. A quick look at most cities in the South will show that we're all doing pretty well currently. Where a person lives is most often the deciding factor regarding a response to such a question. :)

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The comparison to Austin is perfect. As we were looking at houses for our move to Columbia this summer, I told our agent that Columbia reminded me a lot of Austin back in the early eighties (we use to live in Houston and visited there often). A combination of creative class, entrepeneurs and upper-income professionals from both Coasts and the midwest flocked there during the seventies and eighties. There are only two things that might hold Columbia back somewhat from experiencing similar growth (from an outsiders perspective):

1) the perception of the South Carolina school system being below average. If the reputation of the SC school system was as good as even NC, professional people (and corporations) from at least the upper East Coast (IMO)would be moving here faster than they are already, and,

2) the perception of South Carolina as being very right-wing. That is troubling to, not only liberals, but moderates as well (a big part of the educated, mid to upper income demographic).

Its unfortunate that Columbia gets tarred with the statewide brush, because from my research, there are some great schools here and the diversity of the Columbia population makes for a more moderate environment. I've made the Austin comparison to numerous colleagues who wonder why we would want to live in a place with the above two drawbacks.

You make really good points here. Not saying that SC's school system is perfect (because it isn't), but two reasons why we often fall to the bottom is because 1) everybody's test scores are lumped together, including those who are mentally challenged and have learning disabilities and 2) our proficiency standards are higher than those of many other states, and much higher than NC's. Also, over the past decade, our educational system has made considerable progress, especially compared with our neighbors. And as is the case with just about any other state, the better shcools tend to be found in urban areas as opposed to the poorer schools typically being found in rural areas.

While there is no doubt that SC overall is a right-wing state, Richland County bucks this trend, as it is one of a handful of counties that you can count on to go blue in every election. In this regard it is different from from Charleston, Greenville, Spartanburg, and Horry counties, which usually go red pretty consistently.

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You are right on both points. Part of the problem on the education improvements, the powers that be haven't gotten that message out to the rest of the country. But there is a silver lining- the people that are moving here from places outside of the southeast, I think, are people who have taken the time to look past the preconceptions and bias. So you get a diverse body of newcomers who genuinely, to me anyway, seem very happy to be here. I don't know that I've ever visited a place with more friendly, welcoming people (many of whom are transplants).

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