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Variance paves way for new Vista hotel

Real Estate - Commercial
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The Columbia Board of Zoning Appeals approved a height variance on Tuesday for a proposed 11-story boutique hotel in the Vista.

Hotel Anthem, being developed by the Columbia-based Arnold Companies at 800 Gervais St., will be part of Hilton’s Tapestry brand of boutique hotels. The full-service hotel will include 150 high-tech rooms, a rooftop bar and terrace, a lobby-level restaurant and bar and an underground “speakeasy,” according to a news release.

Information provided to the zoning board shows that the property will consist of three commercial buildings totaling 165,079 square feet on a 379,890-square-foot lot.

A rendering of the proposed Hotel Anthem at 800 Gervais St., an 11-story hotel that would be part of the Hilton Tapestry boutique brand. (Rendering provided by Kollin Altomare Architects)The proposed design includes a hotel tower that will be parallel to the Adluh Flour silo. The total height of the hotel is estimated at 133 feet, with a portion encroaching into the 80-foot height buffer area of the mixed-use Innovista urban plan.

The zoning board recommended granting the variance, saying that it would not be detrimental to adjacent property or the public good and finding that the requested relief is the “minimum necessary to make use of the property in question.”

“I’m excited about bringing this project of this quality and scope to my hometown,” Arnold Companies CEO Ben Arnold said in the release. “Columbia will always be my home, a special place with fond memories of my childhood. The city and its residents have been very good to me and my family over the years. I am very excited about the opportunity to continue to re-invest here, to work with Hilton to bring this to fruition and to support a growing Columbia.”

The hotel site is near the former location of now-closed Tin Lizzy’s Cantina. The hotel will be built behind a historic one-story railroad depot that will not be developed, according to the application, and will feature pedestrian plazas and walkways.

Developers are investing $40 million in the hotel, which is expected to create 125 permanent jobs, according to the release. Based on current tax rates, the hotel will pay $500,000 annually for the next 30 years in property taxes, the release said.

“I know this project, which is situated in an underdeveloped area in the heart of the Vista, will contribute to the economy, the tax base and the overall quality of life in downtown Columbia,” Arnold said. “It will help make the Vista an even more vibrant destination for locals and travelers alike.”

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