Two warehouses in the Vista are being pegged for renovations, the latest in a growing trend of local developers leveraging historic tax credits to up-fit old buildings for new uses.
The first warehouse is located at 915 Lady St. and owned by NAI Avant. It is now home to the S.C. Democratic Party and Blencowe IT consulting firm.
The second is at 1219 Wayne St., next to the Backpacker and owned by Cypress Real Estate Partners. It is unoccupied and available for lease.
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Fred Delk, executive director of the Columbia Development Corp., which encourages and guides investment in the Vista and other downtown areas, said the plans continue a growing trend of reusing historic buildings.
“Both have been purchased by investors who are going to take advantage of those tax breaks, like the Bailey Bill,” he said.
The Bailey Bill freezes property taxes at prerenovation levels for 20 years. The state and federal governments also offer income and business tax breaks for developers who invest in renovating historic buildings.
Developers in Columbia began embracing such tax breaks nearly a decade ago, most notably when developer Richard Burts used the credits to save the Olympic mill village community center, then known as Gallery 701, from destruction, and used tax credits to transform it into the 701 Whaley event venue and arts center.
Most recently, architect Scott Garvin has used the credits to turn the old Columbia Antique Mall into the City Market, a cluster of restaurants, apartments, a brewery and a coffee shop.
The Wayne Street warehouse, built in 1926, was used for the Farmer’s Cooperative/FCX Farm and Garden Center from about 1942 until the early 1970s, according to documents filed with the city of Columbia’s Design Development Review Commission.
The owners plan to remove any paint that remains on the original brick, re-point the brick and open up all original doors and windows. They also plan to reinstall an appropriate loading dock door.
“We think it is going to be destination retail or office,” Cypress partner James Harrison said. “We’re going to bring back the historic wire glass windows.”
The Lady Street warehouse was built in 1932 for the National Biscuit Company (aka Nabisco).
The owners are proposing to clean the building and remove the paint on the brick, rehabilitate existing windows and original roll-up doors, and add six new windows on the blank east wall. Significant interior changes are also planned.
“It complements our long-term properties in the Vista,” NAI Avant’s Todd Avant said. “The renovations are going to be extensive, but done in stages. We envision loft-style class A office space, or unique retail space.”
Efforts to reach the owners of both buildings were not immediately successful.