Businesses Split on New Residential Construction

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COLUMBIA - Downtown businesses have mixed feelings about how the newly approved sidewalk and street closures of the Lofts on Broadway will affect operation.

The city of Columbia approved sidewalk and street closures for the construction of the Lofts on Broadway along with the installation of a new sewer.

Nathan Fuchs, a manager at Ernie's, said he doesn't think it will affect business at all. He's excited for the new clients it will bring.

"It's probably going to help out business," said Fuchs.

Businesses next door are concerned.

George Vanwart, a Red Mango employee, said while the construction will bring good business in the future, he's concerned it might hit them hard during their busy summer season.

The sidewalk along the construction site will be completely closed off to people. The sidewalk along Broadway will have a covered overhead.

Tenth Street will remain a two-way street, but meter parking along the other side of the site will be unavailable until the project is finished.

Deputy City Manager Tony St. Romaine said some inconvenience is necessary to move forward.

"It's the price you pay for progress, there has to be a little inconvenience. In the long run, this type of development is something Columbia has been looking for some time so we think it will have a huge impact and a positive impact on downtown Columbia," said Romaine.

 St. Romaine said the ground breaking is set to start within the next week.