Ben Arnold, Sun Solutions Receive Awards From Columbia ChamberMar 08, 2023 12:59PM ● By C. Grant Jackson
By C. Grant Jackson
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Commercial real estate developer Ben Arnold, founder and chief executive officer of the Arnold Companies, whose latest local project includes an 11-story luxury hotel in Columbia’s Vista district, is the 2023 recipient of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce’s Cathy Novinger Trailblazer Award.
The award, named for the former utility company executive and business and community leader who died in 2016 after battling ovarian cancer for decades, honors “an individual who has shown exemplary leadership in his or her industry, advocates for businesses and positively impacts the Columbia community.”
Arnold Companies COO Shelly Little received the award on Arnold’s behalf Wednesday, March 8, 2023, at the chamber’s 9th Annual Columbia Impact Awards, held as part of a Chamber Breakfast Briefing at Segra Park. Arnold moved with his family to La Jolla, California, in 2016, but the Arnold Companies remains headquartered in Columbia, with offices on Gervais Street in the Vista, and the company continues to work on projects in the area.
The Arnold Companies specializes in the acquisition, development, and management of office, warehouse, entertainment, and retail space in the Carolinas as well as multifamily communities throughout the Southeast. The corporation has received several awards and industry recognition for its new construction as well as historical renovation and preservation projects.
In Columbia, Arnold has focused much of his development efforts on downtown, including the Palms residential projects, and the Vista, which he has been working to redevelop since 1996.
Arnold’s latest project is in a 12-acre area that he is calling “The Vista Depot District,” adjacent to the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center and bounded by Gervais, Wayne, Gadsden, and Pendleton streets. The project calls for a luxury Hyatt Centric hotel next door to the iconic Adluh Flour building, a Hyatt House Extended Stay to the east of the development, and a five-story, multi-family development and a 385-space garage.
A lot of success, Arnold said in a video segment on the award, is “about recognizing opportunity,” and not being afraid to move forward.
Other 2023 awards conferred were:
The Small Business of the Year, which went to Sun Solutions, formerly Sun Printing, a full-service commercial printer in West Columbia. The award recognizes a chamber member “who has shown great growth, significant achievements, or realized economic and cultural growth the benefits the business community.”
The Diversity & Inclusion Award, which goes to a chamber member “that goes above and beyond to create a diverse work environment by breaking the glass ceiling,” went to Mark Anthony Brewing in Columbia. The brewery on Shop Road, which opened in May of 2022, employs about 300 and makes White Claw alcoholic seltzers and other beverages.
The Hospitality Industry Award went to Experience Columbia/The Columbia Convention & Visitors Bureau. The award “celebrates those who help make Columbia a world-class place to live, work, and visit by recognizing those in the hospitality industry.”
The Workforce Development Award, which honors a business “working to create innovative workforce development strategies in an effort to retain a dynamic, resilient and highly-skilled workforce equipped for meeting current industry needs within the greater Midlands region,” went to AECOM, a full service engineering design firm with 300 offices, including one in Columbia, and 100,00 employees worldwide.
The chamber also honored six recent development projects, including The Palms 1101, a residential development project at Lady and Assembly streets that was done by the Arnold Companies, with Golden Nail awards.
The Golden Nail is given to a business or property owner “for exemplary contributions to the physical character of the greater Midlands through cosmetic or commercial means such as restoration of a façade, historic building, or re-purposing of a blighted space during the previous calendar year.”
Also honored with a Golden Nail were two residential projects by local developer Frank Cason and Cason Development Group: 1813 Main St., the redevelopment of the Klondike Building, which was done in conjunction with Cohn Construction Services; and 5th & Sloan, the redevelopment of the former Rosewood Church, at 2901 Rosewood Drive, which was originally Fifth Street and the church property juts across Sloan Street from the church, that includes retail space with apartments above.
Other projects receiving Golden Nails were the Cambria hotel at 1000 Lady St. in the Vista, and the Westlawn, Columbia’s first Cross-Laminated Timber commercial building, at 2151 Pickens St. in the BullStreet District.
The presentation of each award was preceded by a short video on the honoree.