COLUMBIA — The Heibel-March building is considered a historic landmark of Columbia and soon might be considered a legacy — the new offices for Legacy Construction Group, that is.
An unsolicited proposal to buy the 100-year-old building was submitted to the Parks and Recreation Department by Legacy Construction Group, which has been doing business in Columbia since 2006. Keith Windham, vice president of construction for Legacy Construction, said in August he noticed a permit as he drove past the building, which has been vacant for years.
Upon further investigation, he found that the permit was expired and had simply been left in the window. He began looking into the possibility of acquiring the building, located at the intersection of Range Line Street and Wilkes Boulevard, for Legacy Construction, which had just begun looking for a new space for its main offices.
“The building fits our needs,” Windham said. “It’s not too big, not too small.”
Maintaining the historic value of the Heibel-March building, which was listed as a notable historic property by the Historic Preservation Commission in 2005, is imperative, said Mike Griggs, park services manager for the Parks and Recreation Department.
“The main goal is to find someone who can make use of the building and maintain the historical nature of the building,” he said.
He added that any buyer would have to prove “that the uses of the building are compatible with the park and the neighborhood.”
The city would maintain ownership of the land, according to the proposal, which would leave the city with some level of control over future renovations, Griggs said.
Renovations are needed. The heating, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical systems need improvement or replacement, according to Windham's assessment of the property. Legacy Construction will seek to make exterior improvements, including a new roof, new windows and an overhead door. Preliminary architectural sketchings show a striped awning wrapping around the storefront.
The benefits of occupying the building could extend beyond the structure’s walls.
“That building has been sitting there for a while not having any use,” Windham said. “I think it helps the downtown area as a whole for businesses to move in.”
The proposal, which has been sent to the City Council for consideration, suggests a review by both the Historic Preservation and Parks and Recreation commissions, and that the council consider proposals by other interested parties.
Windham hopes to start renovating early next year.