Landmark Joint Effort by City of Columbia and Richland County to Open the Door for Commercial Development
Jul 30, 2019

Local governments join forces on sharedvision: more cranes in the sky across the Columbia, S.C., region


In alandmark joint effort, Richland County and the City of Columbia arecollaborating to jumpstart commercial development across the region. 


Recently cited by SmartAsset as the number four U.S. city where millennials are moving, the Columbia, S.C., region offers residents and visitors a vibrant experience, with a thriving arts scene, a lush riverfront, a buzzing entrepreneurial culture and the long-term economic stability of the area’s major institutions. 


Leadersacross the Midlands, however, acknowledge a pent-up demand for hotels, retailbusinesses, workforce housing, office space, and parking.


Inresponse, Richland County and the City of Columbia have developed a frameworkto stimulate commercial real estate investment, with a focus on projects thatexceed $30M in taxable investment and incorporate a component of publicinfrastructure as part of the project. 


Leadersat the city and county believe that this new program will lead to newinvestments in public infrastructure, unleashing new development that has beenconstrained because of adverse tax law.


“Countycouncil is taking these steps to propel our community forward,” said PaulLivingston, chair of Richland County Council. “We’re taking measured, responsivesteps to encourage additional investment across our region, and we’re excitedabout the potential developments that are just waiting to break ground.” 


“Thisis a new day for the City,” said Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. “We’re usheringin a new era of development by actively engaging with private-sector investorswho are building what our market wants. The demand is there for more affordableapartments, retail businesses, hotels, class A office space and more. We aretaking action and doubling down — together — to address that demand.”


Thenew framework outlines a program that will reward investors who build publicinfrastructure, to include structured parking, improvements to roadways andpedestrian crossings, and other real property improvements that benefit thegeneral public. The incentive is capped at 50% of the company’s tax paymentsand there is a renewable limit of ten years on the incentive. It is importantto recognize that even at 50% tax abatement, the taxes that will be paid for eachproject will be a significant increase compared to what is currently being paidfor vacant or underutilized properties that may otherwise remainunchanged.  


“Richland/Columbiais home to one of the most diverse, highly-educated, young, and growing populationsin the United States,” said Mayor Pro Tem Tameika Isaac Devine. “Through ourpartnership, the City of Columbia and Richland County are working together toaddress the demand for increased residential, commercial, restaurant and retailofferings in our region and this program is step towards stimulating thedevelopment of new and exciting projects in the area.”


“This new policy is the result of more than a year ofcouncil deliberations on how to encourage development — but also beequitable in how we treat all developers and our tax payers,” said CouncilmanCalvin “Chip” Jackson, chair of the Richland County Economic DevelopmentCommittee. “We are committed to working with the city to increase investmentsthat will benefit the entire community.”

*Please see attached photos.

IMG_6243: Mayor Steve Benjamin, City ofColumbia

IMG_6223: Mayor Pro Tem Tameika Isaac Devine,City of Columbia

IMG_0369: County Councilwoman AllisonTerracio, County Councilman Calvin "Chip" Jackson, County CouncilChair Paul Livingston, Mayor Steve Benjamin, Mayor Pro Tem Tameika IsaacDevine, City Councilman Howard E. Duvall, Jr. and City Councilman Sam Davis