Gutted Devine St. TitleMax getting torn down. Owner plans ‘something...much nicer’

How development contributed to the flood

Storm water runoff contributed to already swollen creeks during the October 2015 flood
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Storm water runoff contributed to already swollen creeks during the October 2015 flood

The dilapidated blue TitleMax building on Devine Street, a lingering symbol of the havoc wreaked by the historic flooding of October 2015, soon will be demolished.

Jim Pagett, owner of the property, says he’s relieved and excited about finally tearing down the building. The skeleton structure will possibly be demolished in the next two weeks, according to Pagett. He hopes the bent sheet metal and steal beams will be gone, at the latest, by the end of March.

”I drive past this site like everybody else and I’m excited about the opportunity to put something in that corner that’s much nicer than what was there previously,” Pagett said.

The building has stood as little more than a rubble heap and eyesore near the banks of Gills Creek since the flood. It has hung in the balance of red tape and bureaucracy while awaiting its long-delayed destruction. Pagett describes trying to get the building razed as an “extremely complex situation.”

He’s in the process of making a deal to bring “something the community would be excited about” to the property. He couldn’t say specifically what the new development would be because the deal isn’t finalized, but said, “This is an opportunity to upgrade.”

”My plan is to come back with something that is attractive, enhances the area and is family oriented and family friendly,” Pagett said. “I’ve worked hard for a year to resolve problems associated with this property, and, although my deal is not done yet, it’s in the best interest of the community that I go ahead and take this building down now.”

Knowing the reminder of the destructive 2015 flood is finally being removed, Pagett said, “I’m relieved.”

Another title loan business across the street from the former TitleMax is also being razed soon.

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David Travis Bland won the South Carolina Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for community journalism. As The State’s crime, police and public safety reporter, he strives to inform communities about crimes that affect them and give deeper insight into victims, the accused and law enforcement. He studied history with a focus on the American South at the University of South Carolina.

Sarah Ellis has reported on Columbia and Richland County since 2014. She graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in journalism. She’s probably skipping happy hour to go to a County Council meeting.