Published on September 15th, 2014 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


NCBA; Grow Your City Economic Development Luncheon

Pictured above from left: Brian Newman, Columbia City Council, Veronica Rodriguez, Chairman, North Columbia Business Assoc., Sam Davis, Columbia City Council and Sabrina Odom, Executive Director, North Columbia Business Assoc. Photo by Calvin Reese, Millennium Magazine.

The North Columbia Business Association (NCBA) highlighted the Bull Street development and future baseball stadium at its fourth annual Grow Your City Economic Development Luncheon. Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin was among the 16 mayors joined by business leaders and civic officials to hear about the impending developments and North Columbia’s role in shaping the area along North Main Street.

“No organization has had the trajectory and impact in such a short time as the North Columbia Business Association,” Benjamin said.

Hardball Capital owner Jason Freier reviewed the benefits of using multipurpose entertainment venues to generate revenue and build out a city.

Bob Hughes, developer of the Bull Street project being called Columbia Commons, and his son, Bob Hughes Jr., spoke about the progress of the development and featured amenities, including hotels and residential and office space.

“Columbia is in an economic boom,” Hughes said. “Columbia does more business than any other metropolitan statistical area in the state. So Columbia is a very stable place in the center of the state.”

Local government officials left Friday’s luncheon with new ideas about partnering with the right entities to help design successful mixed-used developments.

“The collaborative efforts of businesses in the North Columbia and the city of Columbia, and others outside of Columbia have come together to make these projects work,” said Chapin Mayor Skip Wilson, who attended the luncheon for the first time. “That in itself will keep a thriving business community growing.”

The event also marked the recent announcement of a $10 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant given to the city of Columbia to finalize improvements on North Main Street as part of the Seamless City Revitalization Project.

A 1.27-mile stretch between Anthony and Fuller avenues will undergo pavement and median widening, asphalt removal and replacement, landscaping, street lighting sidewalk construction and the addition of bike kiosks and bus stop upgrades, according to Chris Seegers, the city’s grants administrator.

“Revitalizing the North Main Corridor has been a mission of mine for years, and this grant takes us one step closer to accomplishing that mission once and for all,” said Columbia City Councilman Sam Davis.


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