City OKs rezoning for USCL housing

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By Jesef Williams

Lancaster City Council has given the final OK to rezone property for the first residence halls at the University of South Carolina at Lancaster.

Council voted 6-0 Tuesday to approve final reading to rezone 16.5 acres at Hubbard and Brook drives from B-2 (neighborhood commercial) to MF (multi-family).

Councilman Gonzie Mackey was absent.

The land will be the site for six apartment-style student housing buildings, which will be built in phases over the next few years, said architect Kris Axhoj.

Phase I, which calls for two buildings, is projected to be done by August 2010.

That initial phase will include 188 beds and is projected to cost about $5.5 million, Axhoj said.

Mayor Joe Shaw had questioned whether adequate parking would be available for students.

Axhoj and Frankie Faile, president of the Education Foundation of USCL, said officials shouldn’t be concerned about space, although parking slots may not be directly in front of the residence halls.

“We’ll be flexible,” Axhoj said. “The developers will work closely with city planners to produce enough parking.”

What’s next?

With the property rezoned, Axhoj said planners can move forward in securing funding for the project.

Though loans are harder to come by these days, Axhoj said the goal is to have the $5.5 million in hand by July 15.

That money will go toward building construction, parking lots and related infrastructural needs.

The developers are treating the project as an investment, meaning residents and government will not be asked to pay for it.

Contact reporter Jesef Williams at jwilliams@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1152