westsider28

Bishop Furniture building renovation

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Saw a notice in the paper this morning that the renovation of the Bishop Furniture building that we've been discussing will go before the DRB on Thursday, December 8 at 5:00 pm.  The applicant is Blue Wall Real Estate LLC.  Looking forward to seeing the design, particularly how the additional floors relate to the existing building.

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You will be quite pleased with the look. It will be an awesome addition to downtown.

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A development agreement for the Bishop Furniture redevelopment is on Monday's City Council Agenda.  The project would be $10 million (minimum), 46 units, and ground-floor retail.  The City would provide 60 monthly parking passes in the Dunbar Deck for tenants, make 2 street parking spaces 30 min. (down from 2 hrs) for loading, and relocate a street tree.  This really piqued my curiosity: assuming DRB & HARB approval, the City would "release the property from the existing Mall Façade Agreement of June 29, 1984."  Now that's a relic of another time!  I wonder what that agreement stipulated.

Another small but notable development is that the old 2-story commercial building near the corner of Wofford St and St John St (on left when approaching DT) will be renovated for professional offices.  I've always liked this little building.  I think it's great that it will be preserved and significant that a renovation for this use is happening in this previously neglected area.  Positive sign for sure!

Edited by westsider28

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Westsider, do you anticipate this building's massive concrete facade fronting Main Street to be removed? 

I'm old enough to remember when this building housed Aug W. Smith Company, a fairly upscale department store.  It would seem to me that with 46 units, some of them would front Main Street.

I've also wondered how old this building is.  It doesn't appear to be a pre-1920 construction but I'm not certain.  Any ideas?

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The front infill area will change to two large rows of windows and the top two floors will be set back and have lots of glass.

Its really a great job of transforming this building into its highest and best use......

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I thought this project deserved its own thread. (@Spartan Thanks for moving previous discussion here!)

City Council approved the development agreement at their meeting tonight.  The building will basically be restored very close to its original look, but with a more modern-looking addition on top.  This is subject to DRB approval, of course.  Here's the rendering shown tonight.  I think it looks very nice.

Bishop Furniture redev rendering.jpg

Edited by westsider28

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@roads-scholar @hub-city @spartanburgh

roads-scholar, I think the building was built in the mid- to late-1920s.  The 1923 Sanborn Map still shows First Presbyterian Church in the block between Liberty and Converse.  The church built a new sanctuary (their current one) further up East Main shortly after this map was made, which opened up this block for commercial development.

Edited by westsider28

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Wow!  I like this design.  I kept wondering how they could add two floors without making it look awkward.  I think the designer did a great job.  I'm sure they've done the structural inspections to make sure that's feasible. 

I wonder if the upper level on the Main Street side will be a common gathering area or something.  Would be a great place to chill overlooking the street and Denny's plaza.

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I generally hate contemporary stuff, but I have to say that I like the adaptive reuse of this building and the style is sharp.

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I hope the DRB agrees with you, Spartan - they can get really deep into the details on this stuff, which I suppose is sort of their job - to the point of objecting to specific materials or colors... the building that's getting underway on the corner opposite the new AC Marriott was, I believe, nearly sunk by the DRB being subjective on some of the details.  

The HARB also has to sign off on some elements of the design - to affirm that the renovation is in accordance with historic preservation standards.  This is, to my knowledge, the first time that something has come under the joint jurisdiction of the HARB and DRB.  Hopefully they won't get crosswise on anything!  

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 Found an original image on infodepot from the Herald Journal, but having difficulty uploading it from my iPad. The new design is very close to the original building, so I think everyone should be ok with that aspect.  The added floors may be the biggest issue as far as design...

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Below is an historic photo of the building.  I agree with Historyguy that the DRB does tend to be very meticulous.  The rendering appears to show significantly more windows on the Liberty Street side.  That, how much of the added floors are visible from across Main Street, and how it looks from Dunbar Street could be things the DRB/HARB may focus on.  It looks like the developers are trying to match the cladding of the added floors to the color of the material (metal?) around the front windows, which is good.  Hopefully the DRB/HARB approve it with minor conditions at worst.

Oh, and here's a Herald-Journal article and a City news story on the project.

Bishop Furniture bldg.jpg

Edited by westsider28

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To be fair, I don't think the DRB was the downfall of the Main/DMA building's former concept. The developer was being very aggressive in terms of both design and pushing the limits of the site's zoning.

In this case, we have an existing building, and it's clear that they are trying to keep the renovation in the spirit of the original design. The modifications to the Liberty St side are a huge improvement from an urban design standpoint. I could see them maybe taking issue with the additional floor at the top, but perhaps more in terms of the design than its existence.

Where do downtown residents park, typically? 

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They are proposing working something out with the city on the Dunbar garage.  Would be about a block away...

Edited by hub-city

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I'm tickled pink over this project.  The developer is doing much more with the building than I expected he would.  The upper terrace is a nice feature.

 

 

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23 hours ago, hub-city said:

They are proposing working something out with the city on the Dunbar garage.  Would be about a block away...

I figured that would be the case. The one block walk isn't bad, especially if the location is worth it (and it seem like it will be).

What about residents of the Palmetto Building, or future residents of the Montgomery Building?

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Palmetto building residents use Dunbar already. St. John St. garage is located right behind Montgomery Building and will be used by those residents.

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Well, this project sailed through tonight, with unanimous approval from both the DRB and HARB.  Pretty much nothing but enthusiastic support.  I guess it's easier to approve renovations than new buildings (they already know what the general look and massing are, etc).

Only the 2nd added floor will really be visible from Main (and it's set back).  The first additional floor is entirely behind the parapet of the stone facade.  There are 2 retail spots facing Main on the ground floor.  The one downside is that the spots are too small for a commercial kitchen, so it's unlikely we'll get a full-service restaurant here.  I've got a paper packet with floor plans & elevations that I can take photos of and post if you're interested.  Here's an aerial rendering & ground floor plan from the City's Twitter:

Bishop redev aerial rendering.jpgBishop retail plan.JPG

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Am I mistaken or did I see where these apartments were gonna rent from $1200-$2000?

Good Lord are we trying to become Greenville overnight or something.

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This article says $1100-1800 (estimate) for 650 to 1700 sq ft.  The developers admitted that they are testing the top of the market.  Though I'd say 1700 sq ft for a 2BR at $900 per person on Main Street is not extreme (studio at $1100 on the other hand...).  But anyway, the market will either bear that amount, or it won't and they'll be forced to lower the rent.  We'll see.

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Pretty sure they are looking for $1800-$2000 for the 1700 sq ft model. That's pretty expensive for any kind of a rental (house or apartment).

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Those are Charlotte prices. In hot neighborhoods. $1100 for a studio in Spartanburg - even downtown - is ridiculous. That being said, if it's truly high end everything then maybe there are some people who are willing to pay it. But the Library Commons building still isn't full (as far as I know), and they are overpriced for the market too.

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The  construction fence went up around this building today. This one is underway now too....

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