Email Print

Historic buildings set for revitalization in downtown Spartanburg

By Liz Segrist
Published Dec. 4, 2012

Entities are investing to repurpose three historic buildings in downtown Spartanburg.

These historic buildings have a rich Spartanburg history, and soon will house Spartanburg Community College’s new downtown campus; an additional downtown presence for the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine; and residential apartments for those seeking the downtown lifestyle, said Patty Bock, the city of Spartanburg’s economic development director.

“They are investing their dollars and making an impact on our downtown, enabling others to be successful in the area. There’s so much momentum in downtown right now,” Bock said. “We’re hoping to attract more residential options, service-oriented businesses, bigger businesses and mixed-use developments.”

Spartanburg Community College plans to invest roughly $16 million — a combination of school funds, private and public funds, and federal grants — to renovate the Evans Building at 142 S. Dean St. for its new downtown campus, according to college officials and documents. It is expected to open by fall 2013.

The Evans Building, built in 1921, was formerly the Frank Evans High School and later the Spartanburg High School. Spartanburg County purchased the building in 1978 and housed several county offices there until two years ago, when Spartanburg County Council voted to give the building to the college.

The college plans to renovate the 110,000 square feet of space on three floors into numerous classrooms, a roughly 4,900-square-foot auditorium and a 7,100-square-foot gymnasium, according to college documents. Renovations are expected to earn a LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

“The community college will have a major impact on the downtown, educating and providing the skills needed to fill jobs in our city and county,” Bock said. “Educating our citizens will improve the socioeconomic status of many in the community.”

A group of local investors, including John Bauknight of Longleaf Holdings USA, plans another historic renovation in downtown Spartanburg. They plan to invest roughly $3.2 million in renovations to transform a 100-year-old building on Magnolia Street into residential apartments, Bock said.

The building — formerly the Oakman Glass building and several hotels — will be known as Magnolia Lofts, filled with 27 studio and one-bedroom apartments. It is set to open in January 2013.

There are currently around 160 apartments in downtown Spartanburg, excluding condos and houses, Bock said.

The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, or VCOM, also plans to renovate a historic downtown building on Howard Street.

VCOM purchased the DuPre House, built in 1886, with plans to restore it. The college has not yet decided how the house will be used. VCOM established its initial downtown presence in 2010.