Some details released for downtown Shakespeares land

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COLUMBIA - McAlester Park LLC has released some details about its plans for a new multi-level building that will be located at 9th and Elm in downtown Columbia. That site is the current site of Shakespeare's Pizza. 

Jack Cardetti, a spokesperson for McAlester Park LLC, said the building will be no taller than six stories. He said the first floor will be used for retail space, the second floor will be office space and the top floor will be student and young professional housing. 

Shakespeare's signed a 50 year lease with the company to be located on the first floor once the building is finished. During the year of construction, Shakespeare's plans to move a block away to 8th and Elm, the former location of BBC II, Tin-Can Tavern and Los Bandidos. 

Shakespeare's current lease expires at the end of May. 

Cardetti said the plan is to implement the majority of the Downtown Community Improvement District's voluntary design guidelines. He added it will comply with downtown zoning rules. 

"The architecture will build on the best elements of the Mizzou campus and downtown Columbia," Cardetti said. 

He said they have not made renderings of the plan yet, and the plans are on-going. 

KOMU 8 asked a few Columbia residents how they felt about the plans. 

Steven Graves said he has no problem with more student housing being added downtown because he said it encourages students to walk. He said he thinks living downtown will mean students are less likely to have vehicles and congest the roads. 

He also said his main concern is keeping the lovable character of Shakespeare's. He said as long as the new Shakespeare's has a similar feel, he is fine with the plans. 

New Ward 1 City Council member Clyde Ruffin has told KOMU 8 in the past that one of his main focuses will be affordable housing concerns within his ward, stating that expensive student housing is driving up prices downtown. 

Last month, Ruffin voted in favor of excluding the Shakespeare's property from a moratorium that aimed to preserve downtown historic properties. The moratorium ended up being voted down as well. 

Other citizens expressed concerns that Shakespeare's will not be the same in a new, modern building.