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      Columbia council replaces plan for Opus project

      The new agreement lets the developer build a 256-bed apartment complex on Locust Street at Seventh and Eighth streets.

      Columbia city council members replaced a controversial agreement with a downtown developer.

      By a vote of 5 to 1, the council swapped their old agreement with the Opus Group and replaced it with a new one.

      The new agreement lets the developer build a 256-bed apartment complex on Locust Street at Seventh and Eighth streets.

      A citizen group circulated a petition to overturn the first agreement in March.

      They started a new petition drive to cancel the new agreement.

      Opponents of the new student housing project said city leaders need to improve the sewer system in the downtown area before they allow any more development.

      Assistant City Manager Tony St. Romaine said, ??I??m sure with all of the uncertainty that surrounds this particular development right now, Opus is probably going to wait and see what happens at the next council meeting in June before they make the decision to actually break ground and start building that particular development.??

      Opus developers want to have their apartments ready for the fall semester of next year.