Downtown’s Keenan Building to get makeover

Downtown Columbia’s historic Keenan Building will be getting a makeover in anticipation of the arrival of some new offices and potentially residential tenants following the recent sale of the property to Patel, Lewis, Pournaras, LLC.

The 121,682-square-foot, multi-tenant office building at 1310 Lady St. has been largely vacant the past several years while the previous owner, Keenan Building Partnership, decided whether to restore or sell the property.

Henry Rowe of Colliers International, the leasing agent for the building, said the property will undergo a $5 million historic restoration to bring it to its original 1930s façade and will be marketed to new tenants. He said the restorations will include a return to the brick and limestone decorative details that were covered up in the 1960s and 1970s when an aluminum facade was added.

“It was really a good-looking building,” Rowe said, adding the changes are designed to complement the “new, young workforce.”

He said the building’s 10th story eventually could be converted to residential suites that would further promote the migration of younger workers downtown.

“We have interest from numerous tenants in downtown and the suburbs looking to move downtown,” he said.

Rowe said the site has drawn interest from several small IT firms looking to lease space. He credited that to the building’s proximity to the nearby IT-oLogy building and said the open air design will allow multiple uses.

“It does offer an opportunity for large and small office suites,” he said.

The purchasing partners include Rick Patel, president of Sejwad Hotels; brothers Nick and Bill Pournaras, who have dental practices in Columbia and Myrtle Beach and will open a boutique dental practice in the building; and Robert B. Lewis, an attorney and developer of numerous historic properties in Columbia.

Leasing at the site will begin immediately, with the restoration beginning this fall.