New off-campus housing expected to have big impact in downtown Springfield

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- In downtown Springfield, a massive new student housing apartment complex will draw a lot more downtown when it opens this summer.

"I think it should be fine as long as they build some kind of parking for them," said Daemon Mecham of Build Your Own Pizza on South Jefferson.

Daemon Mecham works as the assistant general manager at Build Your Own Pizza on South Jefferson. It is right across the street from the multi-million dollar construction project going up, earmarked for student housing.

The massive, about $20-million Vue on Walnut will be a new MSU off-campus apartment complex. It will stretch a full city block with over 167,000 square feet of living space. The 107 apartments will house about 350 people plus luxury amenities.

"I think it'll be great for not only the revitalization of downtown Springfield, but also for the businesses around here," said Mecham. "A lot of them are smaller businesses, they're not big chains, so I think it'll be great to help the small business economy in Springfield."

But there is the issue of parking, and not enough of it to go around.

Mecham says it's already extremely tough to find parking. Something Maggie West, who co-owns Crave around the corner says is true.

"Yeah, definitely going to impact us with it being right across the street," said West. "I think we're definitely going to have to plan for different parking arrangements. We always gotta deal with parking around here so that's gonna be, hopefully they're going to build something to accommodate that."

And that's exactly part of the plan. More than 50,000 square feet of parking will be available in an underground parking garage. It adds 129 parking spaces, plus 15 more at the surface level.

A city of Springfield traffic engineer says because the complex will be adding all that parking, and because not all college students come to school with a car, an increasing parking shortage isn't expected.

"The more students we have in the town, the better the economy, and that's really what it boils down to," said West. "We're excited. I think additions to downtown are always super exciting. It's a great community down here, we love it. So, getting more people down here is definitely, definitely what we want."