When Wayne Adams began looking around in the late 1990s for a place to relocate his growing advertising agency, it wasn’t long before he set his sights on the Congaree Vista.
At the time, Chernoff Silver (now Chernoff Newman) and CC Riggs (now Riggs Partners) were the only other ad firms in the district. But with its mix of artists, galleries and affordable rents, the Vista was fast gaining a reputation as the place for “creative types” to be.
“The Vista had the vibe you wanted,” Adams says.
Then housed in a business park off Stoneridge Drive, The Adams Group would eventually move and make its new home in the Dupre building being renovated by Rosie Craig.
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“We liked the environment – the galleries, the antiques, the shops,” he says. “And obviously the restaurants are a huge draw.”
A frequent patron of Gervais & Vine – a Mediterranean wine and tapas bar – Adams says it is those types of places that make the district special. And the ability to live, work and play in the area were added boosts as well.
“You become very ingrained in the Vista if you work here and why not?” he says. “Why go anywhere else?”
But being part of the daytime economy is not without its challenges, he says.
In those early days, parking around the Gervais Street corridor was very tight. However, Adams says parking has improved somewhat with the addition of a city garage on Lincoln and Lady streets.
And on Thursday nights when the Vista was cranking up early, it could be a not-so subtle reminder of the nightlife waiting just outside the office doors.
“They would start the band up at Jillian’s around 4 p.m., and it was like that band was in your office,” he says.
A few years later, in 2002, Adams bought his own building, complete with its own parking lot, a few blocks up the hill from the Dupre Building.
As a property owner, he has since put his share of sweat equity into renovating 923 and 925 Gervais St. He rents to one business and has space for a second.