Press and Media

BullStreet Neighborhood Storm Water Plan Will Reduce Offsite Flooding and Restore Natural Habitat

The BullStreet Neighborhood has received key federal and city approval to implement a new storm water management plan to reduce downstream flooding in some areas during storms, and recreate natural habitat by bringing Smith Branch Creek to the surface on the property while also creating a two-acre pond within the planned 20-acre public park.

Another key element of the plan is the restoration of Smith Branch Creek’s water quality, wildlife and biodiversity, according to Robert Hughes, president of Hughes Development Corporation and project manager at BullStreet. “We hope to inspire young and old alike to appreciate nature in an urban setting and the heirloom South Carolina plants that, in turn, attract a variety of wildlife,” he said.

The creek, which now flows underground in twin 84-inch culvert pipes on the property, will be brought to the surface and meander about 2,000 ft. through the public park at BullStreet.

Smith Branch Creek South opening at BullStreet

Smith Branch creek opens up at the north edge of the BullStreet Neighborhood, at the intersection of Colonial Drive and Gregg Street. The meadow pictured in the background will host the restored creek once it is daylighted.

Approval came from the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the City of Columbia, S.C.

Work on the stream is scheduled to start in Summer 2017 and continue through early 2018.

Most new developments are required to mitigate their effect on downstream properties, but the newly approved BullStreet plan goes much further. For two, ten, 25 and 100-year storm events, the new design for Smith Branch Creek will slow the water flowing from the site an average of 69 feet per cubic second from the existing conditions.

For a two-year storm event, for example, it will help reduce flooding problems for downstream areas including at SC 277, Colonial Drive and Harden Street. Larger storm events will result in more water detained on the property.

The improvements downstream will be achieved by the unique design of the pond, the new open channel of the creek and the use of the existing in-ground culvert pipes for water retention. Currently water flows unimpeded off site directly through the underground pipes.

The future 2-acre pond within the planned 20-acre public park already has been partially dug and is visible from Gregg Street near Freed Drive, just east of Spirit Communications Park.

The future 2-acre pond within the planned 20-acre public park already has been partially dug and is visible from Gregg Street near Freed Drive, just east of Spirit Communications Park.

What others are saying:

As local advocates for clean water and healthy rivers we are always excited about opportunities to improve water quality and reconnect people with the waterways that run through our communities,” said Bill Stangler, the Congaree Riverkeeper. “The daylighting and restoration of Smith Branch is an opportunity to improve an impaired urban stream and make it as asset for the community. We look forward to working with the BullStreet team on this project.”

“In my 10 years of work in water advocacy, the restoration of Smith Branch at BullStreet is by far the best example of a developer’s clear commitment to leaving a place better than they found it,” said Rebecca Haynes, Government Relations Director for The Conservation Voters of S. C. and member of the Bull Street Commission. “This project will set a new standard for urban stream renewal across South Carolina and the Southeast.

Haynes continued: “Restoration of Smith Branch at the BullStreet project takes a broken and blighted stream and returns it to the light of day, allowing the stream and environment around it to thrive. Much like the stream restoration, the BullStreet project as a whole seeks to restore a forgotten part of our community in new and innovative ways, reconnecting our citizens with the site and enhancing the quality of life of surrounding areas. Columbia’s urban streams will be better off because of the Smith Branch restoration and Columbia will be better off because of BullStreet.”

“This plan, put together by city staff, federal agencies, Hughes Development Corporation and others, provides more protection for our citizens living in flood-prone areas, and ensures a natural splendor that will be enjoyed by all,” said Mayor Steve Benjamin. “This kind of resiliency innovation represents the best of public/private sector cooperation and can be used as a model for green infrastructure, restoring wildlife habitat and improving our overall quality of life.”

Hughes Development Corporation worked with KCI Technologies, Davis & Floyd, Robinson Design Engineers, PACE Engineering and Beau Welling Design to develop a Smith Branch daylighting and storm water management plan for BullStreet.

Smith Branch at BullStreet Daylighting Map 800px

Learn more about Columbia’s newest downtown neighborhood at

About the BullStreet Neighborhood

The BullStreet Neighborhood is a 20-year, 181-acre project to transform the historic S.C. State Hospital site into a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood district in downtown Columbia, S.C. The state’s first urban gigabit community, BullStreet is home to Spirit Communications Park, where the Columbia Fireflies Minor League Baseball team has hosted more than 390,000 guests to date, as well as the First Base Building (the largest private office building constructed in Columbia, S.C. since 2009), home to Ogletree Deakins law firm, TCube Solutions software company and Founders Federal Credit Union. Bone-In Barbeque restaurant opens in the historic Ensor Building in Fall 2017, the 196-unit Merrill Gardens senior living community is under construction, and 28 residential townhomes are under construction at TownPark at BullStreet, adjacent to the renovated historic Parker Annex office building. The award-winning historic Bakery at BullStreet building is home to the SOCO cowork and event space, the Central Energy Facility is the future home of Downtown Church, and plans are underway for a new USC Health Sciences campus. BullStreet contains 125,000+ square feet of commercial/office and retail space and is zoned for up to 3.3 million square feet of commercial use and 3,553 residential units. Follow @BullStreetSC on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and learn more at



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