Three downtown Columbia buildings set for renovation projects

The Powell Furniture building on Sumter Street.
The Powell Furniture building on Sumter Street.

Three historic buildings at the intersection of Sumter and Taylor streets downtown will receive a $7.5 million facelift because of an expanded Main Street historic district that allows the developers to leverage tax credits and other incentives.

The three buildings are the Powell Furniture building at 1519 Sumter St. and the twin Western Auto and Rose Talbert buildings at 1222 and 1224 Taylor St.

The three buildings form an “L” at the corner of Sumter and Taylor streets - a block from Main Street around the modern S.C. Community Bank building.

“Obviously the impact of Main Street and the different retailers that have located there and all the students now on Main Street have had a huge impact” on the decision, said developer Robert Lewis, who leads a group of three partners. “But the main thing is the new historic district that has been expanded to the side streets that allow owners to come in and leverage federal and state tax credits and other incentives.”

The $7.5 million renovations of the buildings, which were built between 1914 and 1920, should begin in about three weeks, Lewis said. The buildings, which are connected in the back, total 23,000 square feet.

The Powell Furniture building will be Phase I of the redevelopment process. The Boudreaux Group architecture and planning firm, a partner in the project, will occupy the second floor, leaving 6,000 square feet on the first floor for retail.

“We are excited to participate in the continued growth and vitality of downtown and to create our new home in such a unique setting,” Heather Mitchell of The Boudreaux Group said in a news release.

The space features 12-foot ceilings, exposed historic brick, detailed stone work, exposed spiral duct work, sky lights and large windows flooding the spaces with natural light.

The building, constructed in 1920, has been home to Home Light and Power Company, Jenkins Auto Parts Service, Sears, Roebuck and Company, and in 1960, Powell Furniture.

The building has decorative stone work and terra cota trim, detailed columns, a cornice over the second story windows, and a stepped parapet. The distinctive yellow brick façade will be revealed when the gray paint is stripped, the release said.

The Taylor Street buildings will be Phase 2 of the project, which will begin in the first quarter of 2017.

Lewis said those buildings will be renovated with just exterior and shell work until a tenant is located — probably office or retail, Lewis said.

“But residential is an option,” he said. “But we think the office and retail market is very strong.”

The partners in the project are: Lewis and Chris Rogers of Rogers, Lewis, Jackson, Mann and Quinn Attorneys at Law; Heather Mitchell and Randy Huth of The Boudreaux Group; and, a silent partner.

NAI Avant brokered the sale.

“We have Columbia’s leaders in historic preservation overseeing every aspect of this project,” senior broker Macon Lovelace said in a news release. “This is a very unique project and we have already received interest from multiple tenants even while we are still finalizing the redevelopment plans.”