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Palmetto Building News Item

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Columbia's Palmetto Building ready for a face-lift

(Columbia) August 9, 2004 - One of Columbia's most familiar buildings is about to undergo drastic change. At age 94, Columbia's Palmetto Building is ready for a face-lift. But the building's owner plans much more.

Rick Patel plans a complete makeover, turning one of the state's first skyscrapers into a hotel with 112 rooms and a big city attitude, "It's going to be like a DC atmosphere. Dc, New York, where you valet your car. Come into a cigar lounge. A more trendy type of hotel, with an antique feel."

For Patel, the third time is the charm. Over the last four year, he failed twice to acquire other well-known buildings, "I worked on Number One Main building and then I came with the Barringer. We didn't get the price straight. This is my last building. I always wanted a hotel on Main Street."

Despite the passage of almost a century, Patel says the palmetto building is still in very good structural shape. Most of the renovation work will take place on the inside. On the outside, the building's just going to get a good cleaning.

The hotel project will also save the troubled Sherlock Holmes Pub beneath the building. The bar and restaurant has been closed almost two months after concrete fell from the ceiling under Main Street.

Monday, Andi Cooper, pub owner, was still drying out after flooding caused by a backed up sewer line, "I'm hoping that they'll go ahead and get these structural problems fixed, so that we can get back open, you know as soon as possible."

The Palmetto Building will house the third major hotel development planned for downtown Columbia.

Mayor Bob Coble says the demand for rooms is there, "A year ago, if somebody said your problem a year from now will be that there's speculation you have too many hotel rooms being constructed, I would say that's the kind of problem we want to have."

Reporting by Jack Kuenzie

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