Administrator Brian Carter chronicles West Columbia commercial growth at Chamber Breakfast

Tax incentives and opportunity zones await in the City of West Columbia.

That was the message from West Columbia City Administrator Brian Carter. He spoke at the Greater Cayce-West Columbia Chamber Breakfast Tuesday morning, at West Columbia’s Mt. Tabor Lutheran Church.

“We are hungry for growth,” said Carter, and that appetite is being addressed.

Carter detailed new businesses coming to the The River District in West Columbia, including the Savage Craft Ale House, a large brewery coming to Center Street, and plans for The Whig beer garden on Meeting Street. Palate, a restaurant is being planned for 116 State Street. Chayze Lounge is open and The Westside Restaurant is coming. 

With new parks in West Columbia, including the Interactive Art Park that just opened on Meeting Street and the Enabling Park opening in October on Hudson Street, near the Riverwalk, more than 300 parking spots will be added in the River District. Of those, 125 will be in a public lot that is part of the Brookland project, at State and Meeting Streets.

Carter referenced three federally identified opportunity zones in West Columbia, along US 1, Triangle City and The River District. The Opportunity Zones include 22 properties and come with tax breaks as an incentive for developers.

Carter also said business licenses issued in 2018 grew by 1,870 compared to a growth rate of  1,399 in 2017 and 1,380 in 2916.

He said the West Columbia City Council’s willingness to work to meet the needs of applicants has been a factor.  “We have been agile in adjusting zoning codes to allow new business opportunities,” said Carter.  

Carter said the owner of the Whig in Columbia is opening the beer garden on Meeting Street and the city moved quickly to accommodate zoning because it was a new type of business. Adjustments were also made to the city’s PUD requirements to allow for 34 single-family homes to be built in the Center Street area.

“We cut out a lot of red tape,” Cater said. 

Other business-friendly measures taken by the city include the offering of free valet parking in the summer; a shuttle service for Riverwalk events; and grant programs to help pay for facade upgrades and grease traps. 

Moving forward, Carter said an expansion of the sewer line on Sunset Boulevard to I-20 is being planned to attract new business. He also said a TIF plan is in the works for a large portion of West Columbia’s business districts. 

The City of West Columbia has also launched the Take Pride in the West Side campaign to reduce litter. 

Carter said the West Columbia Beautification received $54,000 from its Tribute for Trees event on Sept. 12. He said a thousand trees and other projects will be financed by the funds. 

Lexington County Council Woman Debbie Summers was at the breakfast and was impressed.

“What you have shown us lifts all of us up,” she said.

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