Downtown Columbia celebrates newest residential addition.

The Arnold Companies' newest addition to the downtown Columbia skyline celebrated its grand opening in style last month.

The Palms, an 83-unit luxury apartment building at the corner of Lady and Assembly streets, opened its glass doors to a group of invited guests on March 11. After a ceremonial ribbon cutting led by Ben Arnold, founder and CEO of Arnold Family Corp., attendees filed into the building and onto its elevators to explore model units on the fifth and sixth floors.

As folks mingled in the lobby before making their way to a rooftop resident lounge where a band played and hors d'oeuvres beckoned, Arnold watched from a well-positioned corner.

"We felt like we needed to bring something that was new, not just renovated existing. There's a lot of that going on," he told the Columbia Regional Business Report. "This was a great corner."

The Arnold Companies' Midlands portfolio also includes Vista Lofts at 701 Gervais St., the Junction 800 event space at 800 Gervais and Hotel Anthem, an 11-story, 158-room four-star hotel planned for the Vista. Arnold's residential and retail vision connects those properties across Assembly Street, Columbia's busy main artery, into a cohesive, walkable urban community.

"We're looking to connect the Vista to Main Street, so the Lady Street connection and the streetscaping that is coming up Assembly is key to the area being connected," he said. "Columbia tends to define itself in these districts Five Points, BullStreet when it's really an urban downtown. We all need to share amenities and help the overall lifestyle of the area."

The Palms' amenities include a business center and a pet spa. Units range from 458-square-foot studios to 1,158-square-foot, two-bedroom units.

"It just raises the level of the residential development downtown," said Matt Kennell, president and CEO of The Main Street District, a downtown economic development organization. "You've got a quality developer and proven developer and a very high market-rate project, which sort of raises the bar for other development in the future and brings new customer for downtown restaurants and shops."

Kennell was on hand for the March ceremony as Arnold told the gathered crowd: "New construction just brings a different dimension" before hoisting a pair of oversized scissors to officially launch The Palms.

The Palms' party came a day after Ben Arnold's father, Norman Arnold, was inducted into the S.C. Business Hall of Fame. The elder Arnold's name is...

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