City council considers approval for apartment expansion in Columbia

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COLUMBIA - An apartment complex is seeking approval to build an additional 336 apartments at Discovery Park beginning early this spring.

Aria Luxury Apartments, located off highway 63 and Discovery Parkway, is looking to build new apartments on more than 12 acres south of their existing location.

If this expansion is approved at the Columbia City Council meeting Monday night, the apartment complex will move forward.

The new rental apartments are designed to cater to young professionals and the plans are similar to the ones already constructed.

The new apartments would be a mix of studio, one bedroom and two bedroom units, and they would share the existing clubhouse, pool, and fire pits already located at Discovery Park.

Jack Cardetti, a spokesman for Aria, said Aria Luxury Apartments has planned the expansion for a long time for young professionals in the area.

“Columbia is a growing community and with that it’s bringing many young professionals to Columbia, and that’s really the majority of the residents that we’ve seen out at Aria, are young professionals. Sometimes they work in Jeff City and obviously it gives them easy access there. It also has great access to the Columbia Airport as well as downtown Columbia being right off 63,” said Cardetti.

Tripp Sheehan, a resident at Aria Luxury Apartments, believes the expansion will add some chaos to the area but won’t be a huge problem for him.

“With more people and the more building coming out here, I think there’s going to be more traffic with the construction crews and their building stuff. That might affect us a little bit as we are trying to get our way to work, but once that’s over it’s just going to be the people who live there going in and everyone will adjust and find the right way to get to where they need to go,” said Sheehan.

Another Aria resident, Chelsea Horton, said undergraduate college students are not allowed to be residents.

She believes there is a need for this kind of housing for young professionals in the area.

However if approved, she thinks the new apartments would bring change to the area.

“It’s definitely going to cause a lot more traffic, I figure, with that many buildings, that many residences. Generally one of the perks about living here was that it was kind of out of the way from everything but that’ll definitely kind of amp up the traffic a little bit,” said Horton.

Columbia City Council members will address the request to approve the development plan Monday at 7 p.m.

“The expansion request passed Planning and Zoning by a vote of 7-0. It is on the council's Consent Agenda, which is generally reserved for non-controversial items,” said Cardetti.

If approved, the project would be completed at the end of 2017.

Although this is all that is planned right now, Cardetti said he will continue to watch the market for the needs of the community.