How a historic bakery becomes boutique apartments
On Oct. 7, 1928, the Claussen Co. opened a new bakery in Columbia’s Five Points. The State newspaper described it as “clean and wholesome at all times and ... makes a fine appearance and has brought favorable comment from the hundreds of people who pass the plant everyday.”
The large industrial bakery was an innovation back then, with the most modern of equipment. It cranked out eight million loaves of bread in its first 22 months of operation, the story said.
In the 1980s, the building took on another innovation. It was converted to a “boutique” hotel called the Inn at Claussen’s Bakery, where where every room was unique.
Today, the historic structure is undergoing another metamorphosis. The Styx Co. is converting those hotel rooms into 29 “boutique” studio and loft apartments that will be closely linked to the common areas in the building as well as the urban village surrounding them.
The studio apartments are only 400 square feet and start at $1,000 a month. So the developers are converting the lobby into a coffee bar-ish common area with a large television lounge, fitness center and a laundry room. (The rooms are too small for washers and dryers.)
“They’re studios, so you want to live in the building,” said Styx’s Julie Tuttle. “But the biggest amenity here is the location. There is so much outside.”
The building at 2003 Greene St. was heavily damaged in 2015’s 1,000-year-flood when its roof gave way.
“It’s a robust building and has a great shell for reuse,” said John Sherrer, Historic Columbia’s director of cultural resources.
He noted that the rehab into a boutique hotel “was one of the first late-20th Century rehabilitation projects in the city.”
The rooms, although small, feature high ceilings, original brick walls, huge windows and, in the case of the eight upstairs lofts, cast iron spiral staircases. The lobby soars more than two stories to a wide skylight.
The development team kept some of the bathroom fixtures and other features from the boutique hotel. “If it was modern and it worked, we kept it,” Tuttle said.
The building also features two restaurants — Mr Friendly’s and Cellar on Greene — and residents have all of Five Points shops, restaurants, bars and services just outside the front door.
“It’s amazing what this area offers,” Sherrer said.
Although the building is also an easy walk to the University of South Carolina campus, Five Points Association members had expressed some concerns that the apartments would be rented to students.
Tuttle said the apartments are targeted for young professionals and university employees, not students. Safeguards such as not accepting co-signers on the lease would be enacted to ensure more mature tenants.
“That’s not our model,” Tuttle said of student housing. “The university has a workforce as well.”
Sarah Ellis contributed to this report