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Making the old new: 2 historic buildings to become hotels in downtown Columbia

Developers are using Columbia's Bailey Bill to build hotels that bring a younger feel to historic spaces.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Two historic Columbia buildings will soon become places for visitors to stay.

1200 Main Street which used to house The Whig, will become a Moxy Marriott. 1209 Assembly Street, which was once the State Armory building, will become a boutique hotel.

With the city welcoming more than five million overnight visitors a year, Mayor Daniel Rickenmann says the city is hoping to accommodate them.

“We've got another $700 million worth of construction that's planned that we'll see. We did almost $900 million last year in new construction and renovations, so we're seeing people come," Rickenmann explained.  

Both buildings are historic spaces and the one that has people talking is the Moxy across the street from the State House. However, the design plans or rooftop bar are not what is immediately catching attention right now. It's the large crane blocking the end of the street. 

Hotel owner, Rick Patel says the crane only operates at night for public safety reasons and can be delayed by weather.

“Right now we're hoping it'll be here for less than 20 days but we'll see," Patel stated.

The large crane is working to put an elevator shaft into the old Main Street building. Patel says his team is currently focusing on the structure of the building.

“Right now we're framing the building, plumbing is going on, electrical starting next week, and mechanical is starting next week, so we're moving full force," the owner explained.

This hotel is expected to have 128 rooms, with a speakeasy, and a rooftop bar with a unique design to fit the City of Columbia through featured artwork inside the hotel.

Over on Assembly Street, also within walking distance from the state house, the state armory or "Hussey Gay Bell" building is being made into a hotel as well. This space will have 44 rooms and a more boutique-historic feel according to John Sherrer with Historic Columbia.

"There will be a rooftop amenity, but it's once you get inside the building that's when you'll see more interior design, motifs, and things of that nature that speak to the building's military history," Sherrer explained.

The Moxy hotel is expected to be completed by the end of 2023, and as of right now, we do not know a timeline for the Assembly Street Hotel.

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