Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis




Public History

First Advisor

Marjorie J. Spruill


This thesis focuses on successful rehabilitations of historic buildings in Columbia, South Carolina. All were undertaken between 1976 and 2013 by private developers in conjunction with public support. The cases presented are located in four downtown districts known as the Vista, the Main Street Corridor, the Granby and Olympia Mill Villages, and Innovista. The rehabilitations differed due to variables unique to their locations in each of these areas as well as conditions in the years that they took place. Public support included financial incentives and guidelines offered by federal, state, regional, and local governments and professional guidance provided by the staff of government agencies and non-profit organizations. The examples selected are just a few of many rehabilitation projects in downtown Columbia completed by private developers with public support. I chose these collaborative projects because they were considered successes by both the public and the private developers, though they often came about after some compromise. For the public, the projects were deemed successful because significant historic buildings were preserved that in many cases would not have been saved through public or private resources alone. In addition, these projects encouraged economic growth. For developers, success was achieved by turning an acceptable profit. Additionally, in some cases the projects were a good fit with company branding or an interest in contributing to historic preservation in the community. The cases presented are representative of similar projects completed in cities throughout the United States. By providing these examples of successful rehabilitations in Columbia, I hope to demonstrate how public-private collaborations can be mutually beneficial for communities and developers across the nation.

Included in

History Commons