This article was written by Alexia Bolin for Cola Daily

New $170 million student housing project breaks ground near USC campus

The USC Development Foundation hosted a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday morning for a new private, mixed-use student housing development at 737 Gadsden Street. Members of the Development Foundation’s board were in attendance, along with the USC Educational Foundation’s board, USC officials, and City of Columbia/Richland County officials. Representatives from the project’s development, construction and financial partners were also at the ground breaking.

Located between Greene and Devine Street, the project is a 650,000-square-foot mixed-use development featuring a 940-bed student housing community. Retail space will be on the property and is open to the public. Students can access Colonial Life Arena, Greek Village, the newly opened Greene Street Bridge, Darla Moore School of Business, The Vista and more from the location.

Development Foundation President and CEO R. Jason Caskey welcomed community members and thanked them for their support of the project. Development Foundation Board Chairman Jim Cantey provided information on the types of housing and features the development will have. City of Columbia District 3 Councilman Will Brennan spoke about the importance of the project to the Innovista district and the community.

The project budget is over $170 million and the USC Development Foundation says it is the largest project they have embarked on to date.

“This is a major undertaking for the Foundation and we’re glad to have the University and Columbia communities supporting us,” said Caskey. “We want to support the University and provide students with an incredible place to live during their time at USC. We know this property will stand the test of time and add value to the University and Columbia community.”

The building and parking deck are located on 3.75 acres of land and will have 311 fully furnished units, including a mix of one, two, three, and four-bedroom apartments. Also incorporated in the community is 42,000-square-feet of meeting and collaboration space and 14,000-square-feet of restaurant and retail space, which will be open for public use. The complex will allegedly have premium amenities, including a resort-style swimming pool, two-story fitness center, individual/group study areas, tech lounge, rooftop lounge and a 600-car parking garage.

“This development is designed with high standards for safety and security of students,” said Hunter Lambert, Director of Real Estate and Assistant Vice President at the Development Foundation. “The building will be constructed of concrete and steel, purposely focused on longevity in order to house many generations of future students.”

Development Foundation Board Chairman Jim Cantey said the project will have a substantial economic impact on the city and estimates that around 200 jobs will be created during the height of construction. Around 30 jobs will then be added once the development opens to service the housing and retail space.

Holder Properties is leading the project and has assembled the design and construction team. Cooper Carry is providing design services and New South Construction is the general contractor for the development. Holder Properties previously worked with the  Development Foundation on both phases of 650 Lincoln.

“We are thrilled to be working on another development here in Columbia and with the USC Development Foundation,” said Andy Barfield, managing director and head of development management at Holder Properties. “We believe this community will raise the standard for student housing around the University and represents our company’s longstanding commitment to Columbia.”

Construction will be ongoing with a planned opening of August 2025, and a name for the mixed-use space has not been decided upon yet. Leasing is expected to open in the fall of 2024 with initial occupancy beginning in late summer of 2025.

The University of South Carolina Development Foundation is a separate, independent entity that supports USC through real estate investments benefitting students and the university. Visit to learn more about the missions and investments of the 501(c)(3) organization.