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A sneak peak at the Plaza in Evans

Posted: January 24, 2018 - 1:32am
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Lionell Prather, Senior Vice President of commercial development and Construction points to where other buildings are planned during a walk-through in the under construction Meybohm Building, the first in the master plan for The Plaza at Evans Towne Center. ABBIGAIL LENNON
Lionell Prather, Senior Vice President of commercial development and Construction points to where other buildings are planned during a walk-through in the under construction Meybohm Building, the first in the master plan for The Plaza at Evans Towne Center. ABBIGAIL LENNON

Media and local officials were given a sneak peak at the Meybohm building, the first phase of Columbia County's master plan for The Plaza at Evans Towne Center.

Space is being prepared for the new Your Pie pizza restaurant and outdoor eating area that runs the length of the building and faces what will soon be the The Plaza promenade. The restaurant will be on the second floor of the building, which is the street level of the four-story building.

Across from the restaurant will be several retail shopping areas, with a lobby dividing the two spaces at the building's main entrance.

Meybohm Realty will occupy about 60,000 square feet of office space, meeting rooms and other professional space on the third floor. Across a main lobby area, there will be a large public space available for events, overlooking The Plaza.

The last flight of stairs leads to the rooftop, which overlooks the upcoming Performing Arts Center on one side and Evans Towne Center Park on the other. Also at rooftop level, the Savannah River and state of South Carolina can be seen in the distance.

"We're really excited about how this project is progressing, and it's going to be an exciting time for Columbia County," said Columbia County Administrator Scott Johnson. "The great thing about this is it's not just this building, it's the entire downtown."

Another restaurant and a professional business are currently in talks with Meybohm to occupy some of the available retail space on the street level, according to Lionell Prather, senior vice president of commercial development and construction.

"We've got another restaurant we are talking to and a large, professional company, a software company, that is looking at the entire second floor space, 6,000 square feet," Prather said. "They have about 30 employees, so we are working on some numbers for them."

Prather said the building is the first of three to accommodate that side of The Plaza. Buildings 4, 5 and 6 will be constructed across from the Meybohm building, and will mirror it but will be smaller. Behind those buildings, a parking deck is planned that Prather said should accommodate more than 200 vehicles.

County officials are also considering an open-air space for a farmers market and a playground at the back of the property that will double as space for additional parking when needed. The entire project will be connected by a promenade, with the Performing Arts Center as the focus. Portions of the area will consist of raised terraces where visitors can stop and sit and enjoy music coming from the Lady Antebellum Amphitheater.

Commissioners also recently updated its alcohol ordinances to allow open containers throughout The Plaza area.

"We wanted people to have an opportunity to kind of roam around this particular section, so we changed our county ordinance to allow open containers or cups as you walk from store to store," Cross said. "And it's bordered on Evans Towne Center Boulevard and N. Belair Road, so you can' t wander over into the park, because that's more of a family area. But if you want to come to a restaurant here and have a meal and take a drink and walk down to the Performing Arts Center, or walk around to the other retail businesses, you can do that."

The overall vision is that people will be able to flow back and forth between the park and The Plaza, Prather said.

"We will have terraced walls so you can have people that sit on the walls and listen to the music. So we really think when they have events over there, people are just going to flow back and forth," Prather said.

Upon completion of the raised sidewalk currently being installed at Evans Towne Center Boulevard, the speed limit will be reduced to 20 mph, and portions of the road will be closed during events to accommodate large crowds.

"It's just terribly exciting to see this first building, which will set the standard for what will go on moving forward," Cross said. "It's going to be a tremendous asset to Columbia County. It's something we have never had, and it's been overdue. We have to really thank and congratulate the Meybohm company for stepping up to do something like this. I think it's the first building in here of many that people will enjoy coming to. Add it to the enjoyment of the park over there. It's something that's greatly needed and we are just really excited that the start of it is finally here."

Weather has caused several construction delays and officials are not firm on a completion date at this time.

 

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