Columbia’s Economy Continues to Boom in Spite of COVID-19 with Over $1 Billion in Investment Underway

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Since January 2020, Columbia SC has seen over $1.1 billion dollars in announced or active development activity in the City and Richland County. These projects encompass a wide variety of regional development opportunities including multifamily residential, office, retail, and industrial.  

Over $548 million in mixed-use projects have been announced or are underway, including notable projects such as The Lady (Keenan Building), The Palms at Lady, The Nine Columbia, and Cambria Hotel. These four projects alone represent $89 million in capital investment, and all are slated to open over the next year.  Developer Ben Arnold whose project The Palms at Lady is under construction said, “If it was not for the expeditious approval of the abandoned building tax credits and the willingness of the City to lease us parking in the City Garage, the development would not be possible.”

The commercial and industrial markets have performed well with over 1,700 jobs announced since the beginning of last year.  BlueCross BlueShield’s expansion in their City and County facilities is projected to create around 700 new jobs with $60 million in investment. The Mark Anthony Brewing project was South Carolina’s project of the year for 2020. The project will create 300 new jobs and $400 million in investment when they open their Richland County facility in July 2021. The company will be one of the largest water/sewer utility customers for Columbia Water.

At the BullStreet District, REI Outdoors and Starbucks both opened within the past nine months, and are performing well. WestLawn, a 75,000 square foot office building, is expected to begin construction soon and will be the future home of Robinson Gray Stepp & Laffitte law firm. The project is slated for completion in the first half of 2022. Renovations continue on the former Babcock Building despite the damage caused by last year’s fire. Phase 1 of that project is expected to open by first quarter of 2022. Babcock represents $55 million in capital investment and will offer 208 one, two, and three bedroom apartments upon full completion.


“The resurgence of investments, development projects, new businesses and existing business expansions occurring across Columbia and the Midlands provide proof that our City, its commerce environment and its people are resilient,” said Mayor Steve Benjamin. “This growth brings jobs, opportunities and resources, and furthers our ideal of Columbia serving as the state’s prime destination for residents, visitors, and businesses.”


“There is a tremendous amount of interest in Columbia, and our City and region continue to persevere in spite of the many challenges we have faced over the past year. By working together with our partners, such as Richland County Economic Development, we can continue to attract more density in our downtown areas, create opportunities for manufacturing and distribution growth, build a regional brand around talent and technology, and support local entrepreneurs through their startup journey. We will transition from being a resilient Columbia to being a resurgent Columbia”, said Economic Development Director Ryan Coleman.