BullStreet buzz builds with Babcock building plans.

The momentum at the mixed-used BullStreet District development received a major boost with the detailing of luxury apartment plans for the historic Babcock building, while other updates, including plans for a Starbucks, continue to build a buzz.

Richmond, Va. developer Clachan Properties presented more than 800 pages of blueprints and plans to the Columbia City Council Bull Street Commission in late October. The landmark building where S.C. State Hospital patients were once treated will be converted into 208 luxury apartments with amenities including fitness studios, a swimming pool, pet area and an exterior grilling patio.

The project is expected to cost more than $40 million.

Hugh Shytle, president of Clachan Properties, described the Babcock Building as a "once-in-a-lifetime project." Clachan is currently working on final tax credit authorization, approval for a Housing and Urban Development loan, and final construction sizing and costing. Construction on the first phase of the more than 146,000-square-foot project is expected begin in 2020.

"A lot of people looked at it, and a lot of people decided not to pursue it," Shytle said. "By hook or by crook, we decided to bite it off, and there have been any number of challenges. It's taken us a while to get to the point where we're at, but we've been able to overcome the challenges and we're just thrilled to be involved with it."

Shytle said despite its current deterioration, including a fire nearly one year ago, the Babcock building is an important landmark worth renovating.

"It's just an iconic building. You just ride up to it and you see the cupola, and then you walk the building and you think about what it once was and how it could be a positive driver for the BullStreet development overall," he said. "It's got to get redeveloped, and if we can turn it into luxury apartments, it's going to be a tremendous addition to the BullStreet campus redevelopment."

Hughes Development Corp. project manager Chandler Cox said the Greenville-based BullStreet master developer has been working with Clachan for some time on the Babcock building and is pleased the plans have progressed to the point they could be released to the public.

"We've been very involved in the Clachan project since they started working on it, but they very much have kept a low profile," she said. "They just put their head down and get to work, and so the amount of things that they have overcome and the amount of work that's gone...

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