The university announced a formal request for information (RFI) to explore development of 889 acres surrounding Williams-Brice Stadium on Tuesday at the Long Family Football Operations Center.
The land west of the operations center to the Congaree River is already owned by the university and the USC Development Foundation, but features little to no development at this point.
What the project will entail is currently unclear but could involve more condominiums, student apartments, restaurants or something else, depending on what professionals recommend. Gamecock Athletics said the stadium will not be moved, nor will the State Fairgrounds be redeveloped, and the project will be privately funded.
Athletics Director Ray Tanner said the core of the proposal aims to enhance the game day experience.
“(Fans) want to have good parking, they want to have great food, they want to have luxury boxes if that suits them or great seating," Tanner said. "It’s the experience, and I think we’ve improved upon that greatly at Williams-Brice, but certainly there’s room to grow.”
Amenities such as bathrooms, concessions and luxury suites are also in need of improvement at the stadium. Right now, Williams-Brice only contains 20 suites, but the proposal may increase that number.
In addition to the acreage surrounding Williams-Brice Stadium, the university also plans to develop 17 acres surrounding Colonial Life Arena for the same purposes of enhancing the fans' experience and vitalizing local business.
"The area along Greene Street leading to the Congaree River is red hot for development," Tanner said.
Part of the proposal aims to generate revenue for the university and Columbia as well as capitalize on the chance to modernize facilities.
“We have a once in a generation opportunity to move forward on needed facility improvements through a partnership that doesn’t require public financing,” USC’s Executive Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer Ed Walton said in the release.
However, 547 acres (almost 62%) of the proposed land contain flood plains, which will require a Floodplain Development Permit in addition to a Land Development or Building permit from Richland County.
RFI results are due back to the university on March 7, which will give USC an idea of what can be built on the proposed land. Price estimates for the projects around Williams-Brice Stadium and Colonia Life Arena will come after the land has been assessed, but current estimates place the project in the billions.
More information will be available on gamecocksonline.com/stadiumproject.