Building in Columbia’s old African-American business district to be renovated

1325 Park St. (Photo by Terry Ward)

A property, built in 1929, will be renovated to become the new home of Belser and Belser law offices.

The historic building is at 1325 Park St. and it was designated with Landmark Status recently through the City of Columbia.

“It is one of the few surviving remnants of the once thriving African-American business district that existed along several blocks of Washington Street,” according to a press release from NAI Avant. It is in Columbia’s Congaree Vista District.

Belser and Belser, PA will occupy the second floor and the loft when the building is renovated.

“My father and I are very excited about this move and the opportunities it presents for our firm and our clients,” said Freeman Belser, a fourth generation lawyer to practice in Columbia.

The first floor and a portion of the ground floor (4,500-sq-ft.combined) are also being restorated. That space is currently available for lease.

A complete historic restoration is planned, with construction scheduled for completion in the summer of 2017.

A majority of the buildings associated with the old African-American business district have been demolished, according to the release. The “small handful that remain, like 1325 Park Street, are important place markers for telling the story of a complex era in Columbia’s history.”

The property has abundant surface parking and is two blocks from both Main and Gervais Streets. “The proximity of this property to both the Main Street District and to the Vista makes it ideally positioned to enjoy Columbia’s growing downtown,” said Ben Rex, a partner in the project.

The restoration team includes Brian Boyer of Boyer Construction, Inc., Larry Woodrum of Heyward & Woodrum, Ltd, AIA, and Andy Chandler of CWA Preservation Services, LLC.

NAI Avant senior brokers Roger Winn, SIOR, Paul Hartley, SIOR, and broker Paul Paschal represented the seller in the sale of the building in late 2016.