200+ new tech jobs coming to BullStreet

Capgemini expanding at The BullStreet District with Advanced Technology Development Center

The BullStreet District announced yesterday that the neighborhood just landed the largest number of new tech jobs in Columbia in the past 10 years.

$14-billion-dollar global consulting and technology services firm Capgemini is expanding their BullStreet location at the First Base Building (a.k.a. FBB; that shiny glass building adjacent to Spirit Communications Park) with the opening of a new Advanced Technology and Development Center, which is essentially part-incubator/part-accelerator for talent development and client-delivery with strengths in deep-skills areas like digital, cloud, artificial intelligence, customer experience + other emerging technologies.

50 of the ~200 new positions have already been filled, but Capgemini continues to hire and more jobs will become available in the next few months. See what’s open here. The second floor of the FBB (below Capgemini’s current office) is being renovated now for the office space expansion and should be move-in ready in November 2018.

Video courtesy The BullStreet District | image via YouTube

Backstory: Capgemini has 200,000+ employees in 40 countries worldwide with a clientele list full of Fortune 500 companies (including GE, NBC Universal, Mercedes Benz + more). Last year, the company acquired local insurance/software firm TCube Solutions, and in December, opened its first S.C. office on the third floor of the First Base Building (FBB) at BullStreet, that houses ~125 jobs.

Why is Capgemini’s expansion a big deal for Columbia’s job market?

This new Advanced Technology and Development Center is projected to bring hundreds of jobs to Cola in high-value + fast-growing technology sectors – including industry 4.0, digital strategy, cloud, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity + customer experience innovation. These are fields you’d traditionally have to move to San Fran or NYC to find a job in. Not anymore.

While Capgemini’s first wave of jobs was focused on insurance industry clientele, this new wave of jobs will cover the entire range industries in Capgemini’s client base, which includes international leaders in entertainment, travel, retail, automotive, energy + more.

These new jobs will pay 50% more than the average hourly wage in Columbia – and nearly double the average manufacturing wage in S.C.

What exactly is an Advanced Technology and Development Center (ATDC)?

Capgemini’s ATDC in Columbia is a collaborative learning environment, blending experienced professionals + new college hires to foster digital talent and build the skills in demand for tech industry jobs. They’ve partnered with UofSC to develop an academic curriculum to help students acquire the digital skills they need to become the high-quality talent companies want to hire.

All this means that Capgemini clients benefit from access to new technologies + talent trained in needed skill sets.

Bottom line: This is pretty big news for BullStreet, which is currently 20% into its 20-year development plan.

Click here or on the button below for the full backstory of BullStreet, and an up-to-date list of everything that’s done ✅, in-progress ▶ and planned ⏩ in the 181-acre district.

An update on everything BullStreet

Almost exactly one year ago, we gave you the lowdown on all things going down at The BullStreet District (#TBT). Now that we’re four years into the 20-year project (time flies when you’re building a city district), we’re back to update you on every completed (meet Bone-In Barbeque), in process (secure your TownPark townhome now; the first resident already moved in) + future (here’s to looking at you forever, historic cupola on the Babcock Building) project that “the largest urban development project this side of the Mississippi” has to offer – all sitting on ~180 acres of land, formerly the South Carolina State Hospital.

The BullStreet District is a certified S.C. Opportunity Zone – a.k.a. a new nationwide community development program designed to encourage long-term private investments in low-income communities, providing federal tax incentives to those who reinvest into “Opportunity Funds.” S.C. appointed 25% of the state’s qualifying low-income “tracts” (areas) as Opportunity Zones. Already, 2,000+ construction jobs have been created by the project, and 250+ full time employees are working in the district. $20+ million has been spent with local contractors.

This past May, Columbia City Council voted to extend their contract agreement with Hughes Development (the project’s master developer) for another five years. So they must agree with Thrillist that Columbia is one of 8 American Cities Making Big Improvements in 2018 – specifically at BullStreet, our state’s first urban gigabit community.

The project is 20% in, and Hughes Development says it’s actually ahead of schedule. With COLAtoday HQ at SOCO BullStreet, we may be a little biased to look on the bright side – but stick with us to see just how much has been done. It’s a lot.

Like all the brand new infrastructure that’s been installed over the last four years. We’re talking 2+ miles of newly-paved roads, new water lines + plumbing, a new electric power system, and new underground, 1000 mbps gigabit internet fiber. None of which was here before the project started.

Photo courtesy The BullStreet District

(How common is it to have this much developmental space with brand new infrastructure so close to downtown in a city? Answer: Not very.)

As a reminder, BullStreet is funded with both public + private dollars. $70+ million in private funds has been committed thus far. To date, 50+ acres of BullStreet’s 181 acres of land are now privately owned and are back on the tax rolls. The City of Columbia has agreed to invest $31.25 million total over the span of the 20-year project for infrastructure, including future parking decks. (Public funds are only used for public projects – like Spirit Communications Park + the future 20-acre public park, not private projects like Bone-In Barbeque.)

Here’s our updated list of everything that’s done ✅, in-progress ▶ and planned ⏩ in the BullStreet District. 👇

Already Done ✅

✅Bakery at BullStreet

Renovated bakery from the former mental health hospital + home to the SOCO community (a.k.a where our office is located – no, we don’t sell cupcakes). The space houses companies + solo entrepreneurs (many in the tech sector), like these startups.

  • Completed: Sept. 2016
  • Last month, SOCO added an outdoor bar on the building’s back porch (yes please), picnic tables out front + COLAtoday got a brand new, glass-encased designated office space – come visit us in our fish bowl.

Bakery at BullStreet: Before | Photo courtesy The BullStreet District

Bakery at BullStreet: After | Photo by Burton Fowles via The BullStreet District

Bone-In Barbeque

This is Chef Scott Hall’s new restaurant, located in the historic Ensor Building (right next to Spirit Communications Park). Try the nachos + frosé before a ballgame.

  • Completed: Construction was completed in early April 2018, and the restaurant opened on April 27, 2018.
  • Bone-In serves traditional Southern dishes with artisan flair. They just launched their lunch menu: Tues.-Fri., 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. (hello, BBQ-inspired salads) – and have a catering menu (call 803-728-7512).
  • There are 3,600 sqft. of freshly-renovated historic office space available upstairs from the restaurant.

Bone-In Barbeque: Before | photo courtesy The BullStreet District

Bone-In Barbeque: After | photo courtesy The BullStreet District

✅Spirit Communications Park

Home to our beloved Columbia Fireflies. And a public park open 7 a.m. ‘til dark for use of the concourse that loops around the ballfield (1 lap = ⅓ mile; we walk this often for an office break) + for picnicking on the track or at the berm.

  • Completed: April 2016
  • Cost: The City of Columbia invested $29 million in hospitality tax bonds in Spirit Communications Park. Hardball Capital, the owner of the Columbia Fireflies, signed a 30-year lease on the stadium and invested $7 million up front towards the completion of the ballpark.
  • Since opening, 915,638 have been in the park for events + baseball games.
  • P.S. You can rent the park for pretty much anything (charity events, receptions, weddings, etc.) The first concert is coming to the park Sept. 7 – Nelly, Ludacris, FloRida + Ying Yang Twins. We’re jazzed.

Photo by Burton Fowles via The BullStreet District

✅First Base Building

You can’t miss this giant glass building next to the ballpark. It houses Ogletree Deakins Law Firm, Founders Federal Credit Union and Capgemini (which purchased TCube Solutions this year).

  • Completed: April 2016
  • The First Base Building is the largest private office building to be constructed in downtown Columbia since 2009.
  • In June, Central Carolina Community Foundation (the nonprofit behind projects like Midlands Gives) announced that they will make the First Base Building their new home in early 2019.
  • Capgemini currently employs ~200,000 people around the world. They roll out massive digital transformations, using everything from A.I. and intelligent automation to wearables and web apps for brands that we use every day. We’re not allowed to share exactly which brands – but think major fast food + insurance brands.
  • Outside of the building you’ll find food trucks each Wednesday during lunchtime for the aptly named Food Truck Wednesday. We frequent San Jose’s truck when it’s parked outside the FBB.

First Base Building: Before | photo courtesy The BullStreet District

First Base Building: After | photo courtesy Burton Fowles

Parker Annex

This renovated building now houses the S.C. Department of Natural Resources Heritage Trust Program. The Parker Annex Archeology Center will soon host camps + public archeology workshops.

  • Completed: Parker Annex renovation was completed by owners Diversified Development in 2016, then Parker Annex Archeology Center opened Summer 2017.
  • The building won a Historic Columbia 2018 Preservation Award this Spring.

Parker Annex: Before | photo courtesy The BullStreet District

Parker Annex: After courtesy | The BullStreet District

Happening Now ▶

There are 5+ different construction crews breaking ground, refurbishing historic buildings + installing an urban park on-site at BullStreet currently.

Maybe it’s about time to take a drive or bike ride (that’s a #ProTip from the dudes at Cola Town Bike Collective) through the ~2 miles of roads and take a look at the progress for yourself. And stop in Bone-In for some frosé while you’re at it.

These are the projects currently happening at BullStreet:

▶Merrill Gardens senior living community

196-unit senior living facility with rooftop deck, sports bar, 24-hour dining, staffing + scheduled transportation. Unfortunately, you have to be 55+ to move in. Inquire here.

  • Opening: Residents expected to move in late 2019
  • Cost: $37 million private investment
  • Built on 2.66 acres with construction started at Gregg St. + Freed Dr.
  • Two new streets are going in around Merrill Gardens, Seaborn + Lafaye St.

Merrill Gardens: Before | photo courtesy The BullStreet District

 

Merrill Gardens: During | photo courtesy the BullStreet District

20-Acre Public Park

Dog parks, hiking trails + a 2-acre pond. Seems like an ideal future picnic spot.

  • Opening: Phase I expected to be completed by end of 2018. Phase II (dog park, public art, play structures, etc.) will be completed after the developer sees how the park is being used by the public (helping them decide what to focus on for phase 2).
    • Phase I projects in-progress:
        • Smith Branch Creek (which currently flows underground) is being daylighted to flow past a two-acre pond – restoring biodiversity + water quality. 1,000 ft. of the creek has been restored. 2,000 ft. to go.
        • Walking trails are being built
        • Future sports fields are being leveled
  • Cost: ~$1 million public investment for Phase I
  • Across from Spirit Communications Park bordered by Colonial Dr., Gregg St. and a future, as-yet-unnamed street that will run parallel to Harden between the park and the planned UofSC Health Sciences campus
  • Parking will be back-angled along the street, directing young children to the park + not the road when exiting vehicles. Safety first at BullStreet. 🚸
  • Two 84” culverts will be kept in place to help control flooding in surrounding areas. Currently, ~31,000 gallons of stormwater travel through the underground pipes during heavy rain.

Weir at Smith Branch Creek at the public park: During | photo courtesy The BullStreet District

Weir at Smith Branch Creek at the public park: During | photo courtesy The BullStreet District

Smith Branch Creek at the public park: During | photo courtesy The BullStreet District

DOWNTOWN CHURCH

Planting roots in the former Central Energy Facility power plant.

  • Opening: Late 2018
  • Cost: $2+ million church investment
  • The openings in the brick wall (for possible outdoor services) + mezzanine level are being added to the building but they are keeping the smokestacks + original “Central Energy Facility” sign to give a nod to its history.

DOWNTOWN CHURCH: Before | photo courtesy The BullStreet District

DOWNTOWN CHURCH: During | photo courtesy The BullStreet District

TownPark at BullStreet

28-unit luxury townhome community by Terranova Group + The Moore Co., ft. 2-3-bedroom townhomes with private rooftop decks + garages. Prices range $467,000-499,500. Virtual tour here.

  • Opening: Phase One completed this month
  • 5 of the 28 homes are currently completed
  • 2 homes are under contract the first resident has already moved in // 3 homes are available
  • Phase Two will include some two-bedroom units

TownPark at BullStreet: Before | photo courtesy The BullStreet District

TownPark at BullStreet: During | photo courtesy The BullStreet District

Coming Soon ⏩

⏩Babcock Building

The Backcock Building (yep, that giant dome that looks kinda haunted) is under contract for historic renovations into apartments. Don’t worry, the iconic cupola isn’t going anywhere.

  • Clachan Properties (based in Va. + specializing in historic renovations) will be restoring the building into apartments. Due to the layout of the historic structure, none of the ~200 apartment units will be the exact same size. So cool.
  • Opening: The restoration plans have been submitted to the National Park Service (which approves items related to properties on the National Register of Historic Places) and goal dates will be announced when plans are approved.
  • PSA: Per BullStreet, the completion date will come sooner with fewer people breaking into the building. I know it’s cool for the ‘gram, but it’s also highly unsafe.

 

Photo courtesy The BullStreet District

University of South Carolina Health Sciences Campus

16 acres have been donated by Hughes Development for the new Health Sciences campus and is planned to become the new home to the USC School of Medicinejust a stone’s throw from Palmetto Richland Hospital.

  • Cost: $200 million
  • This development will employ 1,700+ people and aims to bring more med students to Columbia.

 

I’m proud to work in Columbia’s biggest up-and-coming neighborhood (IMHO) – and get a front row seat for all of the innovation, bricklaying + frosé sipping.

And how awesome is it for our city that Capgemini is building out an ATDC here in Cola? This is a huge game changer for Columbia.

High-quality tech jobs talent retention from our local universities + outside talent moving here for work ➡more local economic impact + smarter growth for our city.

Beth