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Two CSRA historic buildings rebuilt for a new life

The wrecking crew industry missed out on a couple of big jobs recently when one private investment company and one local government bought historic buildings to give them completely new purposes.

Warren Mill

The 130-year-old Warren Mill, the former center of community life in Warrenville, S.C., has sold for $1.6 million with plans to turn the former three-shift clothing factory into 180 to 200 apartments with a swimming pool, an events center and other amenities, according to several recent reports. Warren Mill has been vacant since 1982.

The new owner is a group of investors named Warren Mill Invesco. In July, County Council approved a resolution that provides a tax break for the project through an extended special assessment period. The resolution stated that Warren Mill Invesco would acquire Warren Mill and that Warren Mill Lofts LLC would become the “successor property owner.”

Records on the South Carolina secretary of State’s website show that Capitol Corporate Services in Columbia is the registered agent for both Warren Mill Invesco and Warren Mill Lofts LLC. They were represented at a May County Council Meeting by Warren Mill Invesco investors from Columbia, and Atlanta.

Warren Mill is on the National Register of Historic Places and was making heavyweight denim when it ceased operations 39 years ago.

Henderson Hotel/Regions Bank/City Hall

With a lot of changes going on inside to become the next Aiken City Hall, a great deal of work is being done this month to save the distinctive façade of the former Henderson Hotel/Regions Bank building at the corner of Chesterfield Street and Richland Avenue. The imposing three-story brick building has been a symbol of downtown Aiken since it opened on Jan. 1, 1930 and sits today adjacent to the Newberry Street Festival Site in the heart of town.

The City of Aiken is nearing completion of its remodeling of the former Henderson Hotel and Regions Bank. 62 city employees will move in.

The new city home has held that prime corner for two decades before the arrival of the Savannah River Site, which in Aiken is the demarcation line between modern and ancient history. It’s so old that this writer was a resident of the Henderson Hotel the month after he turned one-year-old, but he doesn’t have any comments to make on the amenities of the venerable hotel at that time.

Although being upgraded, the exterior look of the hotel and longtime bank is being preserved for history and, according to a city release, “The City is preserving the historical theme of the building using dark chocolate brickwork on the additions to the building.”

After decades of trying to keep up with the growth of Aiken and its services, the new city hall will be able to house nearly all City services in one place, taking the guesswork out of paying your bills or getting assistance from City staff.

Most resident business can be done on the ground floor at the Planning Department, Building Inspections, Water and Property Tax Payments, Business Licensing, Revenue Administrators, and the City Tourism Office. The decision making will go on upstairs with the Mayor’s Office, the City Manager, Human Resources, Risk Management, Information Technology, and Economic Development. City Council will also meet in the new location.

The total project will cost $13.58 million to accomplish said City Manager Stuart Bedenbaugh, but the savings in efficiency and public convenience, will begin right away, he says. “Everything that is in the current building on Park Avenue will move two blocks to the 111 Chesterfield building and take that traffic off of the more scenic Park Avenue and onto Richland Avenue, which is the four-lane highway U.S. No. 1. We are moving 62 employees from our current multiple locations into the new building which has room for growth into the next decades of for to 90 people.

He said the move-in date is “by February 2022.”

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