COLUMBIA, SC — Columbia’s Planning Commission voted to recommend that City Council approve landmark status for a building on Lady Street that was recently bought by First Community Bank.
The building is close to a revitalized Main Street, separated from the corner of Main and Lady streets by a small greenway with a cut-through path.
The four-story building at 1213 Lady St., has a facade of white and black stone that appears to create flat, vertical columns that seem to be almost floating on the front of the building, according to the application for landmark status.
Landmark status acknowledges that buildings are important within the fabric of the city, said John Fellows, Columbia planning administrator.
It also allows the owner to apply for the Bailey Bill, which gives them the opportunity to do improvements to the property and get tax abatement, thus saving the owners money in the long run, Fellows said.
Landmark status also adds an additional layer of protection before owners – current or future – could seek demolition.
The building fits the bank’s style, said Mike Crapps, the president of First Community Bank, which started in 1995 and he said has a focus on serving local business owners.
“We didn’t need to have our name on top of a big, big tower,” Crapps said.
However, downtown Columbia has a lot of momentum and the location was a tremendous opportunity, Crapps said.
The building was built in the mid-20th century, which puts it in an era of buildings that are at risk of becoming extinct, according to the application.
Buildings from the time period “are young enough to have modern conveniences such as elevators and old enough to need ‘updating’” and are “often the targets of unsympathetic changes,” the application stated.
The building is 49 years old, just missing the 50-year mark used to determine if a building is considered historic, according to the application.
Older buildings “tell part of the story of Columbia,” Fellows said.
The building was designed by the former Blume, Cannon and Ott, the same Columbia architecture firm that designed Riverbanks Zoo, Middleburg Plaza, Christopher Towers, St. Andrews Baptist Church and the Greystone Executive Park, according to the application.
The first two floors will be used by the bank, and the top two will have tenants, Crapps said.
The building is currently being renovated, and the bank plans to occupy it in May, he said.
Reach Cope at (803) 771-8657.