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Planning commission approves downtown hotel

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 A combined Homewood Suites and Tru Hotel will be built at the corner of Gervais and Williams streets. (Rendering/provided)

Plans for a seven-story hotel in the Vista received the green light from the City of Columbia’s Planning Commission at its Aug. 11 meeting.

The commission approved plans for construction of a combined Homewood Suites and Tru Hotel, designed by Lexington-based architect Craig Otto. The 249-room hotel will occupy an L-shaped lot at Gervais and Williams streets in the Vista. The property would include outdoor patio space with a kitchen, fire pits and seating areas, as well as a 430-space parking lot with ground-floor space for artists’ studios.

Construction of the project will be done by Florence-based Naman Hotels.

Approval came despite significant public opposition, including comments from residents of the nearby City Club Townhomes who voiced concerns about traffic and safety, and fears that the new development will overwhelm the area. Other residents claimed the proposed hotel does not meet guidelines for the Vista and Innovista districts.

The project received support from members of the tourism and hospitality sector, who said it will help attract visitors and bring new jobs to the Vista.

“This project is going to bring more people into that area of Gervais Street, and I think will increase the dynamism of the Vista as a whole,” said Hal Stevenson, president of the Congaree Vista Commercial Property Owners’ Association.

Last month, the project received approval from the city’s Design/Development Review Commission.

Reach Christina Lee Knauss at 803-753-4327.

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