BullStreet: Preserving the past, embracing the future.

The transformation of the historic South Carolina state hospital on Bull Street is a blend of century-old buildings and technology of the future.

With tenants such as cybersecurity expert Capgemini and retailer REI Co-Op offering state-of-the-art outdoor products, the massive Columbia development is home to emerging technologies. Some of that technology is woven into the BullStreet District design along with sewer, water and power lines. The 181-acre mixed-use development is the first gigabit community within a city limits in South Carolina, with fiberoptic cable built into the infrastructure to provide high-speed internet access to residents.

"That was done in partnership with Spirit Communications, now Segra," said Hughes Development Corp. project manager Chandler Cox. "As we were rebuilding all the new infrastructure for the BullStreet project, we partnered with them to put gigabit fiber into all the streets here."

Cox said developers wanted to make BullStreet and its 20-year buildout plan "future-proof," or ready for technological advances. That cutting-edge mindset stands in contrast to the historic and in some cases, dilapidated buildings of the former state mental hospital that are being preserved for reuse.

Robert Hughes, president of Greenville-based BullStreet master developer Hughes Corp., said original plans called for preserving five of the most significant structures with hopes to save as many more as possible. Developers have now found a way to save nine buildings, he said, with plans to announce a 10th.

"It's fun and exciting to see these old buildings be brought back to life, and bring a new use to the projects," Hughes said.

Among the preserved buildings are the Ensor Research Building, which is part of the concourse of Segra Park and has been converted into office and restaurant space; the old bakery, which houses entrepreneurial space; and Central Energy, a former steam plant which has been converted into an event and meeting venue.Hughes said there is more historic renovation to come, including the landmark Babcock Building, built between 1857 and 1885.

Although nothing has been finalized yet, Richmond, Va.-based Clachan Properties has expressed interest in renovating the Babcock building into 206 apartments, Hughes said.

"We've been working with a group for multiple years that is going through the last bit of approval they need, and we're optimistic that everything continues on its plan and they are able to start in...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT