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$17 million office building proposed near brewery on Columbia's North Main Street

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North Main office

A rendering shows the $17 million office building is planned for the site of a new sports-themed brewery on North Main Street in Columbia. City of Columbia/Provided.

COLUMBIA — A three-story red brick office building could be on the rise along the capital city's North Main Street corridor.

Columbia developer Scott Middleton and family are seeking design approval for the $17 million project, to be located on the same lot as another Middleton family development — an upcoming 65,000-square-foot sports-themed brewery announced in February 2019.

"Our commitment to historic preservation and dedication to our community is our inspiration for this new development on North Main," Sara Middleton said, speaking on behalf of the family. "We are looking forward to the new brewery and office spaces that will bring excitement, energy, and opportunity to Columbia."

Potential tenants and the timeline for construction are unknown.

Business owners along North Main Street have banded together over the past decade in an effort to redevelop property throughout the corridor.

The area has seen some success in the area between Elmwood Avenue and Earlewood Park, with restaurants and retailers like The War Mouth, Indah Coffee, Cromer's P-Nuts, Carolina Imports, Curiosity Coffee Bar, NoMa by Al Amir and Rambo's Fat Cat Biscuits opening shop in recent years.

"The difficult part has always been trying to draw people further up Main," said real estate agent Chris Barczak, whose office is along the corridor, in the Trestle building near Earlewood Park. 

Barczak said he and other business owners are excited about the brewery project and accompanying office building, with no negative feedback to date.

The Middleton family is already known for redevelopment of the 1600 block of Main Street, opening the Main Course entertainment complex as well as Good Life Cafe and The Grand boutique bowling alley. They are also turning three other Main Street buildings, which used to house businesses like Erhlich’s Shoe Store and International Wigs, into an oyster and barbecue restaurant.

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Now they're turning their attention farther north.

Upon completion, the brewery at 3452 N. Main St. will be the largest in the state, the Middletons said when the project was announced. Along with beer, the site will have food and entertainment, including indoor sports.

It will be housed in the former Stone Manufacturing Plant and the office building will rise beside it.

Founded in Greenville in 1933, Stone Manufacturing clothing makers would grow from a small, local company in the years following World War II to an international behemoth with multiple facilities, producing the Umbro line of sports apparel through the 1990s.

Because of Stone Manufacturing's inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, the office building also will need federal approval for its construction on the site. But development of the property comes with tax breaks.

In addition to the potential for historic redevelopment incentives, the land is located in a federal Opportunity Zone — tracts of land in or adjacent to a low-income area where the government uses tax benefits to encourage development.

The city Design/Development Review Commission is set to vote on the office building proposal in March. If recommended, it will go before the city council for final approvals.

Editors note: This story has been updated to include comments from the project developer.

Reach Jessica Holdman at jholdman@postandcourier.com. Follow her @jmholdman on Twitter.

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