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Florence developer sets eye on rehabilitating old CP&L building
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Florence developer sets eye on rehabilitating old CP&L building

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FLORENCE, S.C. — Repurposing older buildings for newer tenants is good for a community, but it also makes business sense given the current costs of new construction.

That’s the philosophy of Array Commercial Real Estate developer Chris Scott who, along with Rhett Spencer, is working to develop The Dozier Building at the corner of Hoffmeyer Road and Dozier Boulevard.

Once completed it will bring about 25,000 square feet of class A office space online.

This won’t be the first time Scott has hit it big with an older building as he was involved with Hotel Florence, the Walters Building and Carolina Bank — all in Downtown Florence.

A more recent project was the building at 1452 W. Evans St. in Florence.

“It’s a landmark building, it’s been here forever. It was the CP&L headquarters and yeah, it’s an opportunity to do the same thing again with another building,” Scott said Wednesday as construction crews worked to gut the building.

“A wonderful family has owned this building for a long, long time but it had gotten to the point where they weren’t going to reinvest in there,” he said. “There was some environmental issues we had to work through, but it made sense to us to try to bring life back into this building.”

“Our company, we’ve been working in Florence for 20-some-odd years and in the last 10 years we’ve really spent some time working on redevelopment of existing properties — and that’ become more important with how expensive it’s gotten, new construction has gotten ridiculously expensive,” Scott said.

Especially if you wanted to build a building like this one, which Spencer said was overbuilt originally.

Scott said the building is in a prominent location with high traffic counts— two highly desirable traits for firms looking for high-profile location.

Original construction made for a very quiet building interior, even with demolition crews working just on the other side of the room, Scott said.

“We need to take care of properties like this,” Scott said.

Then there is the parking lot, oversized for the needs of a building of its size, Scott said.

The redevelopment will take place in two phases, he said.

“Phase one is a facelift for the entire exterior as well as demolishing everything on the interior except a couple of fire corridors,” Scott said.

Parts of the building will be rearranged, including a new entrance on the parking-lot side of the building where one does not currently exist.

Phase two will be finding tenants and then working with them to accommodate their space and layout needs.

One thing the developers are looking at would be an arrangement of executive offices where a tenant would also get internet, phone, a virtual receptionist, a meeting room, a break room and bathrooms, Spencer said.

“I’m a big believer in Florence and our company has been here a long time,” Scott said. “What we’ve seen is new space, or even old space that is fully renovated, has been well received in the past. There’s just not a lot of that space that’s been delivered to the market,” Scott said.

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