Downtown Columbia's infrastructure not ready for 24-story building

COLUMBIA, Mo. - There is talk of more student housing in downtown Columbia and this time, it is in the form of a 24-story high-rise building.

However, the city's infrastructure might not be able to handle it. In the last two years, two student housing complexes were constructed downtown. Each of them is now home to hundreds of students.

The newly-proposed idea of the high-rise building is one that will take much planning.

City Manager Mike Matthes told ABC 17 News that it's not out of the question, but changes would need to be made in Columbia's infrastructure before it could become a reality.

"At this point, there is not enough electricity to serve it, and there is not enough sewer to handle it and we need some more water pressure, too," said Matthes.

These are all crucial details that will need to be worked out before Columbia's tallest building could be built.

The proposed site is on Elm Street between Sixth and Seventh streets.

"There are infrastructure issues for all of downtown, not just this project. So we've really reached a wall in terms of our infrastructure," said Matthes.

Columbia Water and Light is getting ready for a detailed study on the issue. They plan to begin in January.

"We've got 1960s infrastructure and at this point it has really been maxed out. So we have to decide how we will move forward and that is where we are right now," said Matthes.

Matthes said the city has been talking with the developer, Park 7 Group, about this concern.

New York-based Park 7 also plans to build additional student housing off of Highway 63 in Columbia.

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