Part of Columbia’s Main Street designated a historic district

Three dozen buildings on and around the core of Columbia’s Main Street have been deemed part of a new historic district that also could help attract more investment.

The most historically significant parts of the district are along the three blocks of 1500, 1600 and 1700 Main, including the Sylvan building that dates to 1871, the former Fox theater building that dates to the 1870s and the Kress building that dates to 1934, supporters said Monday during a news conference.

Nine of the 36 building are immediately adjacent to Main Street and include the Villa Tronco restaurant and the former Greyhound bus terminal, both on Blanding Street, as well as the Oliver Gospel Mission on Taylor Street and the Powell Furniture store on Sumter Street, said Robin Waites, director of Historic Columbia Foundation.

The district is composed of 21 city landmarks and 10 structures listed individually on the National Register of Historic Places, which provides them a measure of protection but does not ban demolition. Buildings must demonstrate historic architecture or history and not have undergone too much renovation to qualify for a historic district.

“Our commercial corridor can now be preserved and celebrated in a manner similar to the historic Congaree Vista, whose designation inititated scores of new businesses,” said Matt Kennell, president of City Center Partnership, which promotes the Main Street area.

Property owners might qualify for tax credits to restore or rehabilitate their buildings, Kennell said.