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Old 05-05-2011, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
6 posts, read 17,099 times
Reputation: 10

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Hey,

I am moving to Columbia, SC the week of June 20th for my company and have to find an apartment during that week. Therefore I have to do a lot of research before I move. I will be working on the Shaw AFB in Sumter, SC. I don't mind the drive, but would like to make it as painless as possible (easy highway access). The reason I want to live in Columbia is because I am a city boy and like being downtown and close to everything, but also like the amenities an apartment complex provides. I will be looking for a 1 bedroom apt and would like to spend around 600-800, but realize that is tough to find. I would like to get recommendations on where I should live based on my requirements below and from someone that already lives in the area. Please advise!

Requirements:
- Downtown living, close to "main st." but do not need to live above it.
- Nice area, safe, no crime
- 1 or 2 bd apt with amenities (fitness room, pool, etc...)
- 600-800 monthly rent cost
- Younger demographics
- Access to trails and campus by bike
- Decent freeway access to commute to Sumter (In downtown around 5:30am and 6:00pm at night)

Currently, I live in downtown Denver at The Metro and it's a nice apt complex with mostly young adults that have fun and are respectful. Trying to find that same scenario.

Thanks for the help!

Pete
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Old 05-05-2011, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
10,398 posts, read 15,004,760 times
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I would start by calling Capitol Places. That's a company with several apartment buildings downtown.
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Old 05-05-2011, 01:37 PM
 
843 posts, read 2,530,878 times
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Something to keep in mind, in addition to your cost of living arrangements, is your commuting costs. Depending on what you drive, you could be spending around $400/mo just in gas to-and-from work (that's what I spend; I live next to Shaw and work in downtown Cola).

Secondly, the apartment complexes in Sumter have the same amenities as the ones in Columbia.

What kinds of things are you wanting to do? Because Sumter has a downtown/Main St, too, you know. We also have several nice parks around town, including bike trails. Are you wanting to be near downtown Cola because you anticipate going out late every night, or just so you're near the action if the mood strikes? I don't mean to get all up in your business, but I'm trying to stress the question: Do you want to have to spend 2 hours a day driving just so you can go out a couple times a week, or would you rather be close to work and only have to make the drive occasionally?

I would think day-to-day living would be easier in Sumter, too. Because the way the road systems are laid out in Sumter, you can be just about anywhere in under 15 minutes. In Columbia a simple run to the store for ice cream could turn into a milky disaster as the train you're stuck at sits idle in the middle of the road for 45 minutes... Or just having to deal with traffic congestion and reckless/careless operation just to get a newspaper and cup of coffee.
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Old 05-05-2011, 02:22 PM
 
Location: Littleton, CO
654 posts, read 1,730,623 times
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Other than the cost of gas, I don't think Sumter is the right choice- especially if you are coming from downtown Denver and being a single 25 year old male. I think you will have to be patient with your move to Columbia in terms of living excitement as compared to downtown Denver. I have been to Denver many times and really enjoy it - I stay at the Magnolia when I go out there, which is right smack in the middle of downtown. If I were you, I would definitely try to get close to the University, so you can enjoy that aspect of life. When school is in the Vista area and 5-Points is a lot of fun. As Ceezer mentioned tho, your commute will be the deciding point. But, again, I don't think coming from downtown Denver to Sumter is a wise choice. You might have to 'roommate' it to keep within your budget, but that can be a good way to meet people as well.
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Old 05-06-2011, 02:43 PM
 
435 posts, read 1,411,352 times
Reputation: 207
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmbusciglio View Post
Hey,

I am moving to Columbia, SC the week of June 20th for my company and have to find an apartment during that week. Therefore I have to do a lot of research before I move. I will be working on the Shaw AFB in Sumter, SC. I don't mind the drive, but would like to make it as painless as possible (easy highway access). The reason I want to live in Columbia is because I am a city boy and like being downtown and close to everything, but also like the amenities an apartment complex provides. I will be looking for a 1 bedroom apt and would like to spend around 600-800, but realize that is tough to find. I would like to get recommendations on where I should live based on my requirements below and from someone that already lives in the area. Please advise!

Requirements:
- Downtown living, close to "main st." but do not need to live above it.
- Nice area, safe, no crime
- 1 or 2 bd apt with amenities (fitness room, pool, etc...)
- 600-800 monthly rent cost
- Younger demographics
- Access to trails and campus by bike
- Decent freeway access to commute to Sumter (In downtown around 5:30am and 6:00pm at night)

Currently, I live in downtown Denver at The Metro and it's a nice apt complex with mostly young adults that have fun and are respectful. Trying to find that same scenario.

Thanks for the help!

Pete
My recommendation is to start looking in the I-77/Garners Ferry Road/Dorn VA Hospital area and see what apartment complexes may suit your budget and taste. From there to Shaw AFB is probably about 45 minutes - not an awfully long commute but you might want to count your monthly gas costs.

As you move closer towards Shaw/Sumter along Garners Ferry Road/US-378, the areas get more suburban and then rural, so while you might benefit in terms of rent and commute costs, you will definitely be moving away from the lifestyle amenities you are looking for. I would also venture that it might not quite be as safe as some of the better city areas, but that's just my impression. Lower Richland County (roughly the region between I-77 and the Sumter County Line below Ft. Jackson) is not a terribly desirable area other than some average suburban developments that house people who either cannot afford or do not prioritize good school districts.

If your budget, both in terms of rent and commuting costs, allow it, you may want to look further towards downtown. The Congaree Vista is THE "young single professional" place in downtown - the commute would be close to an hour but if your budget allows it, you will have the best possible urban experience in Columbia according to what you've told us here. I doubt $600-$800 will be feasible but you may want to see the "best" that Columbia has to offer and decide what trade-offs are worth it to you. There is also the more college-oriented Five Points area but it is really geared toward students up to their early 20s, not young working adults.

Might I also suggest another option if you don't mind being in a good suburban location that has at least some young professionals living in good apartment complexes. I would specifically look at Northeast Columbia, perhaps around the Wildewood Area - this would be about 45 minutes via a more back route to Shaw AFB. I know one single 20-something professional guy who lived an an upscale apartment complex there once, although I'm not sure to what extent he was a city guy since he was from and went to college in small-town Virginia. However, it is a reasonably distance (about 20-25 minutes) downtown. There are some good suburban amenities nearby like the Village of Sandhill outdoor mall/lifestyle center and the large Sesquicentennial state park. It is generally considered safer than the Lower Richland suburban/rural areas along or near Garners Ferry Road. It's not downtown, but if you have to live in a more suburban area, it's a decent option.
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Old 05-09-2011, 12:50 AM
 
74 posts, read 209,852 times
Reputation: 91
Default Managing expectations...

I lived in downtown Denver for about a year, right off of Speer a few blocks down from the convention center. I too like being "near the action" and I'm sorry to tell you that Columbia doesn't really have any "action". If you're looking for a part of town with some decent joints for food or drink then I would have to recommend 5 Points or the Vista. Although The Vista, off Gervais St., is really more an extension of the business/government district of downtown Columbia, with good spots for lunch and Happy Hours.

5 Points area probably has more living options for you and there are some decent neighborhoods (bordering up against some not so nice neighborhoods), but if you stick to the area between Devine St. and Rosewood Dr. you'll find a lot of house rentals. Not so sure about the apartment situation, but because of USC, they're geared more towards the students and faculty. It's a very transient situation as well, obviously. And 5 Points at night can get a little unruly with the college crowd. Think LoDo, but on a much smaller scale and with fewer percentage of young professionals.

I'm originally from the SF Bay Area and moved here about five years ago for a job opportunity. Unless you can immerse yourself in Gamecocks culture, or find some other niche, you may find yourself having a difficult time really connecting with people. When I first got here the question people kept asking me was, "Are you feeling culture shock?". Well, I've been all over the world and around the country so I'm not easily "shocked". After about two or three years, though, it started sinking in what they were talking about. Columbia, unfortunately, is not a city that likes change, or wants to be bigger and better. People like things the way they are (or have been) and the best way to make friends with locals is just to let them know that you like it that way too.
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:14 AM
 
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
10,398 posts, read 15,004,760 times
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Comparing the "action" in a city of Columbia's size to that in SF and Denver is a waste. Columbia offers glimpses of big city action in any given spot at any given moment. To expect the same level of intensity (action) over as large a contiguous area as you'll find in large cities is setting oneself up for disappointment. To say Columbians don't want the city to grow and change as in prosper is inaccurate. And there is always something to do here besides following the Gamecocks. Everyone from nature buffs to ballet and symphony aficionados, to everyone in between can stay busy with quality entertainment. Generally speaking there are trade-offs in life, and moving from a large city to a small or moderate-sized one for whatever reason has its share of those kinds of trade-offs.
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Old 05-09-2011, 05:04 PM
 
74 posts, read 209,852 times
Reputation: 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Columbiadata View Post
Comparing the "action" in a city of Columbia's size to that in SF and Denver is a waste. Columbia offers glimpses of big city action in any given spot at any given moment. To expect the same level of intensity (action) over as large a contiguous area as you'll find in large cities is setting oneself up for disappointment. To say Columbians don't want the city to grow and change as in prosper is inaccurate. And there is always something to do here besides following the Gamecocks. Everyone from nature buffs to ballet and symphony aficionados, to everyone in between can stay busy with quality entertainment. Generally speaking there are trade-offs in life, and moving from a large city to a small or moderate-sized one for whatever reason has its share of those kinds of trade-offs.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Columbia should be compared to either Denver, San Francisco or any other real city, that wouldn't be fair. That's why I started my post with "Managing expectations..." But, next to Sumter or Florence, though, I guess Columbia does have some "action". The Colonial Center gets the occasional decent headliner, like Prince, who came here a few weeks ago, or The Wiggles, who are an international sensation.

And I'm not knocking the Gamecocks either, because, God knows how really and truly awful things would be here without them. I'm just saying that, from an outsiders perspective, which the OP may relate to somewhat, this town hasn't done much to really make a name for itself. I mean, aside from SEC sports and the historical legacy of being laid to waste by Sherman's army, what is Columbia really known for? Are people driving up and down I-95 going to make a side trip to visit here? Probably not.

And it's not necessarily that Columbia should aspire to be a "big" city, but it should at least try to offer something...shouldn't it? My favorite anecdote about moving here is asking co-workers, "So, whaddya got here?", to which they replied - almost to a person - "Well, there's Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Hilton Head, and, oh, Asheville's not too far either." True story.

If American cities were like 31 Flavors ice cream, Columbia would very proudly be Vanilla. And I'm not saying there's anything wrong with Vanilla.

So, with all due respect to the people of Columbia, instead of trying to defend it as something that it's not, I think you should really just own it and embrace the averageness that this city represents.
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Old 05-09-2011, 05:26 PM
 
191 posts, read 448,444 times
Reputation: 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by HopDude View Post
I'm originally from the SF Bay Area and moved here about five years ago for a job opportunity. Unless you can immerse yourself in Gamecocks culture, or find some other niche, you may find yourself having a difficult time really connecting with people. When I first got here the question people kept asking me was, "Are you feeling culture shock?". Well, I've been all over the world and around the country so I'm not easily "shocked". After about two or three years, though, it started sinking in what they were talking about. Columbia, unfortunately, is not a city that likes change, or wants to be bigger and better. People like things the way they are (or have been) and the best way to make friends with locals is just to let them know that you like it that way too.
He's right on. I'm from Boston Metro, lived in Portland, ME for a while as well as Denver actually. You will notice that that 25-30 demographic is particularly absent "downtown" compared to other areas. People get married and have kids at an earlier age here and unless you consider the northeast, irmo/lexington, west cola "downtown", then we've found that a lot of that demographic lives there.

Gamecocks are everything. Every demographic. Everywhere. Period.

Don't waste your time with 5 points. There are a few nice places to eat but for the most part it's a college hang out. I certainly would not want to live near it.

You best bet is the Vista area. The biggest problem is that it's on the wrong side of town. I would not waste your time living there and commuting that far. What you get in return just isn't worth it IMO. Personally, i'd live in Rosewood area or somewhere off of garners ferry. Garners ferry is kinda in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do but it'll cut down on your commute a whole lot.

Oh, and say goodbye to good beer and hello to sweet tea.
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:01 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
6 posts, read 17,099 times
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I think the area I am leaning towards and the area West of Gervais and South of Assembly. It seems like there are several places in that area that could fit my description and will be close to the Vistas and Main St. entertainment. Specifically, Parkside Condos look nice. It seems like a nice little complex, probably more of a peaceful crowd due to homeownership and within 3 blocks from the popular areas. Has anyone been here and/or know the area that it's in? Also, it's across from Finlay park and that looks nice.

As for the commute to Sumter, I know it's not the most glamourous situation, but there are 4-5 of us that will be making the commute so carpooling will make things a little easier and more affordable. I have been commuting from Denver to Greeley (55 miles, 1 hour, one way) for about a year now and I have become very immune to it.

Capitol Places does look like a nice management company with a lot of nice apartment complexes. I will keep in touch with them and see what they have available for when I arrive.

I have decided that I would be willing to spend under a 1000 for a 2bd/2ba apt. My mom and I are close and she would like to come down from MI during the winter to escape the snow so a 2 bed is a must. Also, more the reason a condo would be nicer, eventhough she is hip and can chill with the young crowd .

I'd have to say that being close to The Congaree Vista area is what I am looking for. Like I said, the commute will be manageable and the cost is well what it is. I think under 1000 will be manageable and I can find something Im happy with. It looks like the place near Finlay Park will be appropriate, just need an opinion of that area, and other suggestions in that area?

Thanks again for the input!
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