701 Whaley

About 701 Whaley

Today

701 Whaley has been renovated and is a thriving community center that boasts office suites, live/work lofts, 701 Center for Contemporary Arts and unique spaces for event rentals. It is also home to thehallway:communityart, a showcase for local artists.

Rental Spaces

The Grand Hall, a spacious 6,700 square feet with 12 foot windows, grand staircase, a glass storefront, original columns and aged, distinctive walls. Inviting. Flexible. One of a kind.

The Olympia Room upstairs boasts hardwood floors, tall windows and original turn buckle queen trusses and at 2000 square feet, is a more intimate space for rehearsal dinners, ceremonies, parties or acoustic events.

The Granby Room is a street level glass storefront space with two double door entrances and raw character of its own. It is approximately 2600 square feet.

Whether you're looking for a warm intimate setting for 50 or a spacious, distinctive venue for 1000, 701 Whaley can offer you options. View the Gallery page for photos of our great spaces.

History

Built in 1903 as the Granby and Pacific Mill village's company store, 701 Whaley, a 35,000 square-foot brick building in Columbia , SC has served many purposes. It quickly became a community center for the mill workers and everybody just called it "The Y". It included a bowling alley, library, auditorium, gymnasium, pool and dance hall. With dances every Friday night, a movie on Saturdays, basketball and billards, socials and civility this cornerstone of the community was hopping with action for several decades.

In 1909 The State paper when referring to 701 Whaley stated: "Probably the most interesting place to visitors in Columbia is the Pacific Mills Community and the Community Building and when everything is considered, it is a small wonder that this community, especially the Olympia Village, is so close-knit and proud." The building served many purposes until the 1980's when textile jobs moved away. In 2000 a portion of the roof caved in and the City of Columbia condemned the building and was on the brink of tearing it down. Richard Burts, who has years of experience developing local real estate and is an active leader in the business community, and Robert Lewis, whose expertise is in the renovation of historic buildings, along with Bob McConnel, California investor, purchased 701 Whaley in 2006 with the goal of preserving and restoring the iconic facility to its original appearance.

Lee Ann Kornegay produced a documentary on the history and restoration of the building, 701 Whaley, and kept a journal of the activity. Videos courtesy of L.A. Kornegay

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