A prominent building on Columbia’s growing Main Street has changed hands, and the new owner says he is working to get more tenants.
Richard Cohn, founder and chairman of Columbia’s Cohn Construction Services, bought the building known as 1556 Main St. on Thursday for a reported $1.53 million. The building is adjacent to Mast General Store.
“It was probably the last great buy on Main Street with the revitalization that's been going on,” Cohn said Friday.
Main Street has been undergoing a renaissance since Mast opened more than three years ago, attracting a range of other retailers, restaurants and residential units. The area got a boost when developed turned an office tower into The Hub, a high-rise apartment complex that opened this fall that attracted 850 students and young professionals.
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Cohn, whose company owns and manages nearly 100 properties throughout the Southeast, said he is looking to possibly bring a mix of uses to the building, from retail to office space. The building would be an ideal spot for a gym, a pub, a store or even commercial offices, he said. Cohn said he is not moving his construction offices there.
“There's a lot that we can do with this one,” he said. “It lends itself with the way it's laid out to being flexible.”
Cohn said he has four to five “really solid prospects for the building,” including a national retailer.
Henry Roe, a broker with Colliers International who represented the seller in the sale, said he doesn’t think it will take long to fill the space and anticipated any new occupants would be open by next summer.
“This is a wonderful corner,” he said.
The building’s access is what initially caught Cohn’s eye, he said. It has an entrance on Taylor Street, adjacent to a new parking garage, as well as two entrances on Main Street and two elevators.
The building formerly was McCrory Store, according to Colliers. Its 1960s-era façade has been maintained.
“It’s got a lot of character,” Cohn said.
The building largely has been empty for more than a decade. Cohn said he hopes to continue renovations to the building, which had been started by previous owners.
“We want to give it a look that's a little different,” he said.
Artist & Craftsman, an art supply chain that has a store in Charleston, previously had said it was moving into a portion of the building and had detailed plans for it was going to do with the space. However, the developer working to put that deal together did not have a contract on the building and the deal fell through.
Trever Webster, regional manager with Artist & Craftsman, said the chain remains interested in downtown Columbia and is in talks with a broker for landing a new location.