Commercial Architecture July/August 2016 - (Page 16)
Cigar Factory Embarks
On A New Life
Despite a false start and an arduous
approval process, the resulting
authenticity was worth the effort.
Above. The Cigar Factory, a jewel in the architectural treasure chest that
is Charleston, SC, has a long history.
Above, right. To "create a little street presence" for the retail on the
ground level, a steel-and-timber canopy runs along the front of the property. Hung off the building with steel tie rods, it features exposed timber
tell the young architects in my office, sometimes
struggles for equality, but for its standing as one of the
ganization and Atlanta developer Boyd Simpson, pur-
projects can take seven years from start to finish,"
city's few remaining Victorian-era industrial buildings and
chased the property in 2007 with the idea of creating 66
said Ron Stang, AIA, LEED AP, and chairman
its key role in the region's textile and tobacco industries.
condominiums over a mix of retail and office space.
A LONG HISTORY
Stevens and Wilkinson and Trident Construction, North
of the architectural firm Stevens & Wilkinson, Atlanta.
"This one's pushing nine."
They opened a sales office and took deposits. With
"This one" is the Cigar Factory, one of the jewels in the
Built in 1881 as a cotton mill, the five-story, 244,000-sq.-
Charleston, SC, leading the way, Stang said demolition
architectural treasure chest that is Charleston, SC. "The
ft. structure was converted in 1912 into a factory for the
and construction "started in earnest." However, six
building is iconic in Charleston," said William Cogswell,
American Tobacco Co., and it performed that function
months after commencement, the recession hit. Things
principal, WECCO Development, Charleston. "Every-
into the 1970s. It is actually nine buildings that, over
went from bad to worse when Silverton Bank, the bank
body knows the Cigar Factory. It's a very unique building
time, were consolidated into a single structure.
that was funding Simpson's project, failed. The Federal
and to say a single building stands out in Charleston is
Once the American Tobacco Co. ceased its Charleston
Deposit Insurance Corp. stepped in and soon pulled the
operations, the building found other purposes-first as an
plug on Simpson's loan, forcing him to shut down the
It is the site of what is thought to be the first singing of
office building and eventually as the home of a Johnson &
project in 2009. Legal wrangling ensued for the next few
"We Shall Overcome" in a moment of civil rights and la-
Wales Univ. campus. Beginning in 2006, it stood empty-a
years. The case was eventually settled out of court, with
bor activism (see sidebar). Yet its inclusion on the Nation-
big and doleful reminder of what had been.
Simpson retaining the building.
al Register of Historic Places is not for its role in America's
COMMERCI A L A RCHI T EC T URE
TSO Cigar Factory LLC, headed by The Simpson Or-
Meanwhile, the property had caught the attention of
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Commercial Architecture July/August 2016
Cigar Factory Embarks On A New Life
Windows & Door Products
Historic Renovation Includes Geothermal
Church Sings Praises Of Condensing Boilers
HVAC & Plumbing Products
Raising The Roof On Historical Bath House
Two Paws Up For Rubber Floors
Library Blends Stone And Glass
Lighting For The Future
Lighting & Electrical Products
Building Technology Products
Commercial Architecture July/August 2016