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Apartment complex would mean Quinton's Bar & Deli demolition

Proposed apartment would mean demolition for Quinton's Bar

COLUMBIA, Mo. - This story has been updated to provide the latest information, including an interview with the property developer, Eran Fields.

To Columbia residents, it seems like one apartment complex project is barely finished before another begins.

The newest proposed apartment complex from California-based developer Fields Holdings LLC would go up where Quinton's Bar & Deli and Britches Clothing are on Ninth Street.

The plans also include the empty lot where Mackenzie's Prime used to be and the James Condominium.

According to Tim Teddy, development director with the city of Columbia, the proposal is for a 10-story building. The bottom floor should be for retail space and the second floor would be for parking. The rest of the floors would ideally be residential.

While people call foul on the city for bringing in yet another apartment complex, city leaders say it's not a staff decision.

"We don't get to decide what happens there," said City Manager Mike Matthes. "We do have zoning rules that do limit use and if you stay within those rules then we must say 'yes' to your proposal."

The current CVS proposal is an example of a proposal that hasn't met the city's zoning laws. While the city didn't sign a contract to bring the CVS to Columbia, it can halt its progress until it complies with the city's rules.

"That's the staff's role to say, 'This ordinance requires this and this doesn't do that, so we're saying no to that.'" he said. "Usually it's about setbacks and parking ratios, that sort of thing."

Teddy says so far the company has followed the rules although it has only applied for demolition permits so far.

ABC17 News spoke with the developer, Eran Fields, about the project. He said he plans on staying within those planning and zoning rules. He also hopes the apartment complex can be more diverse.

"We have purposefully created a very diverse unit mix with over 65 percent of our unit types suitable to be marketed to students and non-students alike thus addressing any future over supply of purpose built student housing," said Fields.

He said there won't be any balconies.

Many people also expressed concern about the demolition of Quinton's, but Fields says it was the owners' choice to sell the property.

"We are in discussions with Quinton's about potentially returning as our tenant," he said. "But regardless of who the tenants will become, we are very excited about making that prominent corner a landmark retail destination for Columbia residents."

He also said he's been in touch with the Historic Preservation Commission as well, in case anything can be saved on the lot.

"This will enable them to carefully select any and all items from the building and lot they deem have architectural significance," Fields said. "[That will] make it available to Columbia residents and local not-for-profit organizations."

The Columbia City Council will discuss the apartment complex at the Feb. 15 meeting in the form of a final plat proposal which would combine a small plot of land with James Condominium's plot.

That's one of the only procedural issues the proposal would have to clear, although the city can make decisions regarding closing streets and sidewalks during construction.

Fields says the plat proposal will be up for discussion at Monday's city council meeting.

With enrollment numbers dropping at the University of Missouri, Matthes said he doesn't understand why developers would want to put in another apartment complex aimed at students.

"I just feel like it's awkward timing," he said.

Fields said he thinks the university will bounce back in enrollment numbers over time and he plans to make a long term investment in the building.

Matthes also said there could be pros to the plan.

"On the plus side, one of the fundamentals of economics is the more of something you have, the cheaper it becomes," he said. "So you could say 'bring it on', if you're going to make an investment it'll just make housing rates go down here."

Residents also worry if the city's infrastructure could handle another large building project.

Teddy said there will be some sewer line replacement but the infrastructure should be able to hold for a new building. He also said water shouldn't be an issue.

Fields said he isn't building the apartment complex to "maximize bed count." Instead, he hopes to make a lasting difference on that corner.

"I take pride in building a great building," he said. "That corner deserves it."


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