COLUMBIA SC — An Ohio-based company has withdrawn its months-long effort to build an 800-unit student housing complex after the project ran into stiff opposition from preservationists who fought the developer’s plan to demolish a former cotton warehouse that sits at one of Columbia’s gateways.
Edwards Communities Development Co. sent a letter last week informing city officials that it is dropping its plans.
“This action constitutes termination of the pending application for all purposes and legal effects,” the March 7 letter from Edwards’ local attorney Robert Fuller.
The project became entangled in a procedural knot after Columbia’s Design/Development Review Commission denied the application Dec. 13. That set off an appeal by the Edwards company, a lawsuit by preservationists who oppose razing the nearly century-old, four-story, 300,000 square foot brick building and a request for a rehearing.
The second hear before the commission had been set for Thursday.
Preservationist also launched an online petition to keep the building.
It was unclear Tuesday morning whether opponents, who have said for months the building could be saved, have plans for what is to happen to the building.
The construction plans unraveled quickly.
The owners already had a demolition permit and had informed tenants late last month that they had until the end of March to move out.
More than 1,000 people have signed an online petition at change.org, aimed at derailing the demolition. Monday, more than 70 supporters turned out for a rally to pressure City Hall to stop it.
Efforts to reach owners or the developer Tuesday morning were unsuccessful.