Open Thread for Wednesday, June 10, 2016

The view from where we were having lunch today.

The view from where we were having lunch today.

Back from the beach, and here are some possible topics:

  1. VA building could become parking lot — Kathryn suggested this topic. I gather that this is one on which she may be in agreement with the mayor.
  2. How Jeb Bush’s 2016 bid faltered before it began — Really? Isn’t it a bit early to be writing the political obit for the guy who is still probably going to end up with the nomination? Maybe that’s not what this is, but the headline has an eulogistical tone.
  3. Al-Qaida ‘cut off and ripped apart by Isis’ — Yeah, the enemy of my enemy may be my friend, but somehow I can’t quite work up a lot of sympathy here for the has-been terror organization.

Or whatever y’all want to talk about…



40 thoughts on “Open Thread for Wednesday, June 10, 2016

  1. Karen Pearson

    Maybe the young’un’s on to something. Given the tendency to put up signs forbidding everything, perhaps one could have available sign’s saying “do not obey this sign” and arrows to attach in the appropriate direction. After all, heaven forbid that we should modify/damage a sign Yogi Bear style however fatuous it might be.

  2. Karen Pearson

    Oops, I put that last entry in the wrong place. Meanwhile, apropos to this thread, Jeb Bush is the closest thing I’ve seen to sane on the Republican side. If he goes it will be proof positive that the Republicans (and possibly the whole political country) has gone off its cams.

  3. Bryan Caskey

    Both my three year old and my 11-month old go to the daycare that is located in the Strom Thurmond Federal Center immediately adjacent to the VA Building.

    There actually is quite a dearth of parking available for the people that come to the Strom Thurmond Federal Center. I have a hard pass that allows me to park in the Employee Lot behind the STFC for drop-off and pick-up, but if I didn’t have that, I’d have nowhere to park.

    What GSA is probably looking to deal with is all the people that come to the STFC for social security issues. Every single morning there are at least 40-50 people lined up in the lobby before 9:00AM to meet with the office of social security. Every morning. I have no idea where these people park, and they’re not all in great shape.

    I understand that the City of Columbia doesn’t want a parking lot on this busy corner for development purposes. But frankly, a parking lot would be a better use of the space than an completely empty building, and I get that GSA is addressing their needs – the development of Columbia isn’t their concern.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      Well, as the article says, there is a parking garage just across Assembly–which if one isn’t handicapped 9and would have a placard) is hardly a hardship.
      I thought the feds were all about limiting parking near their buildings after Timothy McVeigh?

      The building doesn’t HAVE to be empty, either…..

      1. Bryan Caskey

        There is a parking garage over there. I guess that’s where most all visitors park. I actually spoke with a security guy this morning and he seemed to know a lot about the plans for the building. I’m gonna do a post on my blog about it later today, after I get some legal work done.

  4. Mark Stewart

    Interesting that the original construction plans did not include sufficient parking, especially for the recently completed courthouse.

    Not much about the Federal complex makes sense.

    How about since the post office operations went off to Cayce that the Feds convert the base of the PO to a large garage instead?

  5. Doug Ross

    Costco coming to Columbia according to Mayor Benjamin. Piney Grove location apparently – not sure why they wouldn’t look at the new Killian Road area that is about to take off. Super Kroger is going to be the anchor on that one and they’re starting to fill the lots along the road with restaurants.

    We need a Cheesecake Factory. And we need it NOW!

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Well, that’s exciting news, I suppose, but… where are you seeing that? Google isn’t finding any news items to that effect…

      I was just thinking about Costco yesterday, passing by the store in Myrtle Beach. Last time we were there my wife and I had tried to go in and check it out. They wouldn’t let us without a membership, or without our going and standing in a long line for a guest pass or something — which wasn’t worth it to us; we were just mildly curious.

      Which makes me wonder: How are people supposed to find out that they like Costco and want to be members if it’s a hassle to get in and look around? I guess we’re just supposed to believe the buzz…

      1. Doug Ross

        Costco is really just Sam’s Club with some minor variations on product lines. They are highly rated as an employer (4/5 star ratings on and indeed,com from 3000+ reviews).

        When you have a craving for five pounds of Hot Tamale candies or 250 rolls of toilet paper, you can’t beat Costco.

      2. Mark Stewart

        Costco has been looking at that site since at least 2005. The problem for Columbia with retailers is that the demographic (the economic part of socio-economic) distribution is so diffuse across the broader metropolitan area.

        They want to be near businesses; that pretty much disqualifies the Killian road tracts in NE Columbia, Doug. Kroger likes roof tops; but that area is still a risky gamble for them.

        Costco thinks being inside of Sam’s Club will give them a chance, despite the retail peninsula that they’re landing on. We’ll see.

        If Richland County doles out any incentives for this retail store it will be a sorry day for the Columbia area. And another inept act by County Council.

        1. Doug Ross

          I think Kroger on Killian is going to be a winner. It basically will own everything from Exit 27 down to exit 19 on both sides of 77 for the most part. Closer to the highway than Sandhills. Traffic is not as bad as Two Notch (yet). Wal Mart is on the other side of the highway sort of in an island by itself. The McDonalds is open, Hardees and Panda Express are under construction. Applebees is getting started.

          If they put a movie theater in there, it will kill Sandhills.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      And what we NEED is an Apple store. It’s ridiculous to have to go to Charleston or Greenville (or Augusta!) with an iPad problem…

      1. Doug Ross

        Isn’t Charlotte closer than Charleston or Greenville? South Park Mall has an Apple Store.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          About the same, I believe. And I never have a reason to go to Charlotte. There are other things I can do in Greenville and Charleston.

        2. Kathryn Fenner

          Charlotte is closer than Charleston, about the same as Greenville, but Charlotte has Nordstrom….and IKEA

      2. Mark Stewart

        Apple doesn’t like the one choice that they have – the Harbison area. So they pass, just like every other retailer. Other cities present far more attractive location opportunities.

        So while the Columbia metropolitan area is really the fourth largest in the Southeast, after the Atlanta, Raleigh, and Charlotte metros; it’s last on the list for retailers. That isn’t ever going to change. Geography is destiny.

        1. Kathryn Fenner

          Unless the central city can be recognized as vibrant again. Apple doesn’t need the kind of acreage Costco does. With 33K undergrads, not to mention Apple-loving academics, surely the Vista/Five Points/Cross Hill can be attractive.

        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          Yeah, I don’t see why Harbison would be the only option. In fact, I wouldn’t think of that at all. I would think the first place they’d look would be the Vista…

          1. Doug Ross

            Parking in the Vista is a pain in the butt. Where could it be located that would allow for easy access?

              1. Kathryn Fenner

                There are plenty of practically vacant parking garages—nice and clean, and way way cheaper than any I used near the Apple store on King Street! Not to mention, closer…

              2. Doug Ross

                Hmmm… the last two times I parked in a garage downtown (one for Soda City, the other to go to Pearlz), the smell of urine was quite strong in the stairwells.

              3. Kathryn Fenner

                The one across from the Post Office is old and gross. The ones by the convention center and across from the police station are nice whenever I’ve been in them, as is the new one at Sumter and Taylor

          2. Mark Stewart

            Wow. I hate to burst all y’all’s bubble, but nearly every Apple store in America is in a mall. For example, all stores in Georgia and North Carolina are in malls…

            It is the very rare exception for a midsize let alone smaller market to get an urban store. King Street has earned a national reputation as an urban retail destination. Even so, it’s still tough and go. The Vista? Not anything to write home about. In no way is it on the radar of national retailers.

            Every retailer looking at Columbia has the same problem; the demographics are very fragmented. To put it bluntly, they suck.

            I’m very interested to see if Bob Hughes can pull off a retail grand slam and fill the hospital land with all the “boutique” retailers who want to be able to access the Lake Murray, USC, Shandon, Forest Acres, Blythewood, NE Columbia, etc. areas in combination. Otherwise, all of these places are really just demographic puddles. Having two “Interstates” that connect to these residential nodes and terminate at the site – and inside the urban core – is the Holy Grail for Columbia’s retail scene. It is quite literally the only site in the entire metro region that has this potential.

            If the Bull Street development doesn’t take off, eventually there will be an Apple store on Harbison. So I’m rooting for Bob Hughes. I just wish the City of Columbia hadn’t given away the farm.

    3. Kathryn Fenner

      Right–you had a good look at the folks around here? We most certainly do not need a chain whose entrees and desserts generally each exceed the recommended daily allowances for you name it!

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Oh! The Cheesecake Factory. I had to got WAY up to find the reference…

        All I know about the Cheesecake Factory is that I think the blonde on “Big Bang Theory” works there.

      2. Doug Ross

        Luckily, it’s not your decision. My family enjoys the food at Cheesecake Factory. It offers a very diverse menu, great desserts, and tasty pre-meal bread.

        1. Kathryn Fenner

          Oh, no doubt the food is tasty, not that I have been there. Such high calorie counts usually correlate to tastiness…..

  6. Phillip

    The chain restaurant I want here that we don’t have (but Charlotte does) is Noodles & Company.

    1. Mark Stewart

      I just saw one of these for the first time today – but had just had lunch elsewhere. I’ll give it a try now.

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