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I have to say this is kind of an odd location for a complex at the moment, but I think better connecting the grid will make properties on the other side of the tracks really attractive. It's a shame that it took USC and the city so long to get their acts together, otherwise Innovista might have been a lot more developed by now. The pent up demand pretty much guarantees more building in the area though.

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It's amazing that the Palmetto Compress is almost complete considering it was nearly demolished. I wonder if the Mexican restaurant is Monterrey's? The location is not terribly far from their old spot

We should all team up on the Gervais and Assembly property owner(s).

That building has a lot of character, and I like that it is not being marketed to college students. I could see myself downsizing and living there one day. It will be in the vortex of a lot of energy

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As much as I like that the Innovista space is finally being occupied (at least a little), this is not really as great as it sounds:

 

http://www.fitsnews.com/2013/01/17/wtf-inept-o-vista/

 

I'm sorry, I can't get with that piece at all. The opening and closing statements are about as inaccurate and misleading as it gets:

 

"One of the greatest scams in South Carolina history stems the unfounded belief that the Palmetto State’s institutions of higher learning ought to be playing a lead role in 'economic development.'"

 

"If government really wants to create jobs, it would immediately route any money spent on such nonsense into individual income tax relief."

 

I'm guessing this guy has never heard of Silicon Valley, Boston, Austin, the Research Triangle, etc.

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I'm sorry, I can't get with that piece at all. The opening and closing statements are about as inaccurate and misleading as it gets:

"One of the greatest scams in South Carolina history stems the unfounded belief that the Palmetto State’s institutions of higher learning ought to be playing a lead role in 'economic development.'"

"If government really wants to create jobs, it would immediately route any money spent on such nonsense into individual income tax relief."

I'm guessing this guy has never heard of Silicon Valley, Boston, Austin, the Research Triangle, etc.

The Fits News articles are always full of lies, ain't nobody got time for that!

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He's certainly hyperbolic, but I think he hits on a keep point here: the private sector has yet to embrace Innovista. Since the state and city have shown their reluctance to continue funding the campus without results and USC has bigger capital priorities (deferred maintenance, new law school, academic space shortage), how is the area going to thrive? The vacancy rates in Discovery and Horizon are still extremely high and USC's single digit annual spin-offs can only do so much.

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Certainly the campus is off to a slow start, and the recession certainly didn't help. I also think expectations were a bit too high in the beginning, being that the major focus was on an industry still in its infancy (hydrogen fuel). To be honest, I don't think Pastides was the man for the job when he was VP for research and health sciences and even his qualifications for USC president were a bit shaky at the time. I'm hopeful that Don Herriott can make some significant things happen. With Columbia having ranked 2nd nationally for high-tech employment growth from 2010-2011, certainly the need for facilities to help nurture this sort of growth is there. 

 

The article didn't question Innovista's relative success at this point, but the actual concept behind knowledge-based job creation. On that front, he's as wrong as two left shoes. 

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Fitsnews can be extreme. They like to tell a story to make the ultra conservative happy while leaving out material facts. Innovista is not as bad as it is appears nor it is as good as it was projected. But, it is hardly at a point where you can claim it to be a winner or loser, the park is not old. And, like many projects around the country, the recession hit this project hard. It is no secret that Intel was taking space when the recession hit and that set the project back some. But, both buildings have commitments for the space, the labs are currently being built out.

 

Innovista is often compared with ICAR. And, although ICAR has more buildings, the park is populated mainly from companies that were already in the upstate. Sage Automotive just took a large space in one of the ICAR buildings but moved from the MIlliken Campus. Hubbell Lighting was already headquartered in the upstate prior to moving to ICAR. While they make the park seem like it is moving forward, in a true economic development analysis, they are re-shuffling the deck. It would not be a bad move for Innovista to move Aflac into the park in order to generate some positive movement and to provide coverage from folks like Fitsnews who are always looking for any bit of negative news. While it is not the park's true mission to have companies like Aflac, Carolina has a tremendous risk management degree that would fit well with Aflac. And, although research jobs get headlines, risk management positions are very high paying positions, most can pay well into 6 figures.

 

As for economic generation by state schools. The Research Triangle, Austin, Silicon Valley and others are great job generators for the states. However, all of these states fund the universities at levels that SC is not prepared to do. SC does not have anything like these research parks and unless the state is willing to put money into the state schools at levels exceeding 8% of operating budget, it will be hard to compete with schools that have endowments in the billions while receiving state funding at multiples of any SC school. SC also has an image problem. A friend in the aerospace industry mentioned that his company looks at SC like they do Mexico, cheap labor. While unfair, I don't think that is unique and makes it much harder to attract high tech jobs especially when some of the state's largest counties have college education attainment levels below 30%, below 20% for Spartanburg County.

 

That said, Carolina is gaining steam in attracting research grants. The trend is upward and the school sets new records each year, especially for SC. The school is also close to starting construction of the law school and moving nicely towards a capital campaign of $1b. This level of giving has only be achieved by a few schools nationally. While that will not solve all problems, it is a great testament to the school and the strong alumni base that in a poor state, can raise that level of funding. It does not hurt that the schools has a number of billionaire alumni. Carolina will continue to see a building boom over the next decade as the shortage of classroom space catches up with the student population. The 2010 plan has some great ideas, especially in the south campus. In one presentation, the building across from the engineering center is removed for a park along the creek. The walkway through the athletics willage will connect the campus with Williams Brice and allow students a walkway to the stadium instead of Assembly St.

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Great post, clt29301. FITS News is certainly sensational, but they do tend to cover stores that mainstream media is either unaware of or chooses not to publish. At any rate, Innovista is still recovering from some huge early blunders; namely, hiring a contractor that had pending law suits in multiple states, hiring Parks, focusing on hydrogen cell research right before it was largely defunded, and building what was arguably speculative office and lab space. A lot of this can be expected since it was Carolina's first foray into economic development. I think the shape of the idea is really promising and over time it will develop, but it will need some help. To be fair, Silicon Valley is anchored by UC-Berkeley and Stanford, two huge research powerhouses, RTP was developed by NC State, Duke, and UNC (therefore privately-subsidized), and UT-Austin benefits from the Permanent University Fund that provides hundreds of millions a year in funding. All three are in huge states. I think some strong leadership and as you mentioned, some positive momentum from a relocation by Aflec or another local company could catalyze development.

 

The reason Innovista is frustrating is that it draws money from the same sources that USC does. It is not self-sustaining and continues to take capital that would otherwise be dedicated to facility needs on campus (i.e. Russell House expansion, new law school, new academic space, lab upfitting, deferred maintenance, additional dorms, etc). As much as I love USC, it was not really in the position to build a research campus in the first place. Now that Discovery and Horizon have been built, the school should of course make every effort to fill them. Unfortunately, it will take a long time to build new buildings knowing the facilities needs on campus and the debt limit that the school has set for itself. The real benefit of Innovista is the design guidelines that are now helping guide private development, most recently with the new apartment buildings on Huger. The infrastructure improvements covered by the penny sales tax should make the area a hotspot once the street grid is built out.

 

The school will build its reputation as a research hub, but it will take a lot longer than it would at other schools because of the state's image nationwide and the fact that SC is a pretty small state. I used to really question Pastides' leadership, but I think he and Amiridis have a solid plan in Focus Carolina (http://www.sc.edu/focuscarolina/pdfs/Focus_Carolina_Full_Planrev1.pdf). The marketing campaign should pay dividends by moving the university up in the rankings to where it should be, which is probably in the 60s or 70s at the moment.

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I mean 60s or 70s overall, probably more in the 70s right now. If you look at the underlying statistics, South Carolina should be ranked at least at the level of Alabama and above Auburn (which I chose since Alabama and South Carolina are similar states and have similar education systems). They have both dropped in the rankings recently, but Bama is 77 and Auburn is 89. The main reason we are ranked so low is the peer assessment score, which has continued to fall over the years. Clemson overcame its lower score by promoting the school like crazy at conferences, through marketing campaigns, and with direct mailers to the university presidents who decide the rankings. USC has started to make up ground with the "No Limits" campaign, but we are still years behind Clemson in terms of recognition.

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I mean 60s or 70s overall, probably more in the 70s right now. If you look at the underlying statistics, South Carolina should be ranked at least at the level of Alabama and above Auburn (which I chose since Alabama and South Carolina are similar states and have similar education systems). They have both dropped in the rankings recently, but Bama is 77 and Auburn is 89. The main reason we are ranked so low is the peer assessment score, which has continued to fall over the years. Clemson overcame its lower score by promoting the school like crazy at conferences, through marketing campaigns, and with direct mailers to the university presidents who decide the rankings. USC has started to make up ground with the "No Limits" campaign, but we are still years behind Clemson in terms of recognition.

Kind of sad that reputation makes up so much of these rankings which is why I think they are garbage. Unfortunately, you can't ignore them unless you are an Ivey League School, Sanford etc....

 

On the bright side, I saw some of the Moore School peer reviews and they were much better than I thought. Most businees leaders and business school deans listed Carolina as a peer of schools like UNC, UVA, UGA, UF, UT and others.

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The new $15 million student housing project on Pendleton Street that would house 250 students near the Amtrak station was granted approval.

 



Looks like the Palmetto Compress Warehouse will be demolished after all, tenants have until March 31 to vacate the property. 

Historic building faces demolition {sodEmoji.|} Business {sodEmoji.|} The State

 

Edited by lucjanrc
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The building itself has always been a little dilapidated, but the sign on the side is beautiful. I can't imagine a way that they would save it, though it would be great if they could preserve it somehow.

wow. well i hope that whatever they put there next will brighten up the skyline and the area.

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It looks like the owners of the Palmetto Compress are moving forward with demolition. Personally I think this is what needs to happen to get anything developed in the area. Preservationists will really have no leg to stand on if there is nothing to save. There is a photo gallery attached to the article and it is hard to imagine redeveloping a building clearly not designed to house people. The brick-by-brick demolition means the owners can save a lot of the character elements of the warehouse for re-use, possibly in the next development.

 

http://www.thestate.com/2013/03/12/2672221/company-withdraws-disputed-student.html#disqus_thread

 

I'm glad the city did not accept the Edwards proposal since it was for garden-style apartments. Let's hope the momentum building on the other side of the tracks leads to more interest in the lot.

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There is a photo gallery attached to the article and it is hard to imagine redeveloping a building clearly not designed to house people.

 

There's no reason that this plot of land/building HAS to be residential. That building would make for some really neat office space and/or event venue. It's a shame that a really cool, authentic warehouse cannot be saved.

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I agree, but I think the student housing demand will dictate that it be developed as residential. I just hope the committee has the restraint to wait for a high density development to be proposed.

 

It's not like there's a lack of land available downtown. There's no reason that it must be this site.

 

For this particular site: nothing in that area is really high density as it stands right now, and there's actually a precedent for suburban style development in that area. I wonder how a developer's pro forma would work out to justify an expensive urban development for this site? I'm not sure you'd get the rental rates to cover such a proposal. I'd like to see in detail how the numbers work out. Who knows, but if the options are garden style apartments or a historic building, I'd take the historic building.

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My only thing is that actually the renderings I saw of the building they want to put in the warehouse's place looks prettier and historic to boot.  But I'm only talking about the one building that would replace it, not the rest of the proposed buildings.

Edited by CorgiMatt
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This property would probably be well suited for garden style apartments if it wasn't for three factors:

 

1. It is in the Innovista District and is therefore subject to density standards.

2. The grid work improvements (i.e. extending Greene Street to the river) funded by the penny tax coupled with the high rise dorms proposed across the tracks will make this area very dense within the next 10 years.

3. There are two high density buildings proposed in the same strip (4 story building across from Amtrak and Monarch at USC).

 

Accepting a suburban garden-style complex would seem pretty short-sighted given what is planned for the area. I think there is an idea that if Columbia doesn't accept every development, the city will not garner any interest. Considering the amount of student demand off-campus and the prime location of the Huger Street track, I think Columbia can afford to enforce the standards it has already established.

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