Lofts at 308 Ninth rent to eight businesses

Wednesday, January 2, 2013 | 6:15 p.m. CST
Eight businesses have committed to occupy the commercial space beneath Lofts on 308 Ninth, a new residential development on South Ninth Street. These businesses include Subway, I-TAP, Varsity Nails and Blenders.

COLUMBIA — Eight businesses have committed to rent space in the Lofts on 308 Ninth, a five-story mixed-use apartment building due for completion in August.

The businesses include International Tap House, a bar with wine and a full array of beer; Blenders, a local smoothie shop; Tiger Credit Union; Varsity Nails; a Chinese restaurant; and a Subway sandwich restaurant, said Travis McGee, president and owner of Certified Realty Inc. and THM Investments.

The investment company is developing the building. McGee declined to name the two other businesses.

The building will include 64 one- and two-bedroom units, with 120 possible residents, McGee said. Some have already been rented, but he did not provide a number. He said his offices will be on the second floor.

Here is a look at some of the businesses that have committed so far:

International Tap House (iTap)

The bar offers about 500 domestic and international beers, as well as varieties of wine, said Sean Conroy, one of two owners.

There are two iTap locations in Missouri, he said. Both are in the St. Louis area, one in Chesterfield and another in Soulard.

Conroy and co-owner Brad Lobdell  are MU alumni.

"We strive to bring better beer to as many drinking-age adults as we can," Conroy said. "Brad and I have always thought Columbia was a market that could happily support a place like iTap."  

He said they were approached last spring to see if they wanted to be a part of the project. They "leaped at the chance," he said.

The bar will stock Boulevard, Schlafly, 4 Hands, 2nd Shift, Perennial, Urban Chestnut, Charleville, O'Fallon and beers from other Missouri breweries, he said.  

No food will be served, but it can be delivered or brought to the bar.

"The concept keeps us from having to operate a kitchen and most importantly helps supports our neighbor restaurants," Conroy said.


The owner of Blenders, Kieran McBride, said he has worked at smoothie restaurants for eight years, ever since he was in high school.

When he came to Columbia in June 2011, he noticed there was no shop that specialized in smoothies and decided there was a need for one.

Blenders will not use purees or mixes, McBride said.  This will allow customers to customize their drinks with extras such as vitamins and workout supplements. 

McBride said the smoothies would be quick and healthy. "We want the ingredients to do the talking," he said.

Varsity Nails

Varsity Clips owner Paul Rubenstein plans to move Varsity Nails into the Lofts from its location at 904 Elm St. The business has outgrown the space it occupies now, he said.

According to the website, Varsity Nails now offers manicures and pedicures, eyelash extensions and eyebrow waxes. Its clientele includes both adults and children, who get ice cream with their pedicures. The shop also sets up spa parties.

“I can’t get a better location for hair or nails,” Rubenstein said, referring to the new building.


Subway Manager Jessica Miller at 30 S. Ninth St. said a new Subway in the Lofts would not replace the existing restaurant.

Subway's website lists 10 locations in the Columbia area and one in Ashland. The franchise has 38,359 restaurants in 100 countries.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Cole Kennedy January 3, 2013 | 7:58 a.m.

I can't stand Subway.

Does this town seriously need another one? It's no more than a half mile to the location further up Ninth St. Plus Which Wich is right next door. Maybe we'll get lucky and that location will close, because the awkward flooring tile that covers the outside of the building is hideous and someone should simply raze the structure and start anew.

iTap is cool though.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz January 3, 2013 | 11:58 a.m.

Apparently the owners of the local franchise think its needed and local government isn't stupid enough (yet) to regulate what restaurants can go where. I'm waiting for our enlightened elite to adopt some of the food truck regulations that keep entrepreneurs from setting up within X feet of a brick and mortar restaurant, for instance, as has happened in other towns Columbia's planners think we should emulate.

(Report Comment)

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.