Columbia's City Center has a significant amount of developable vacant or essentially vacant land, as well as land and property that is subject to conversion to other uses as the economy continues to evolve. These Guidelines establish high quality development and design as a priority as projects are proposed, reviewed, approved, and developed. This priority status is based on the fundamental premise that the economic vitality of City Center, as well Columbia as a whole, is inextricably tied to the quality of the built environment.
These Guidelines have been prepared as part of a larger strategic assessment effort that the City of Columbia initiated in early 1997. The overall purpose of the strategic assessment process is to identify and implement strategies to revitalize what has come to be known as "City Center. Reflecting common usage in many European cities, as well as many American capital cities, the City Center label applies to the area bordered by the Congaree River on the west, Elmwood Avenue to the north, Pickens Street to east, and Blossom Street on the south. Through the years, parts or all of this area have been referred to variously as the Congaree Vista, Main Street, the Vista, the Central Business District (or CBD), and the Urban Core.