701 Whaley is a restored historic building and is a thriving community center that boasts unique event rental spaces, 701 Center for Contemporary Art, office suites, live/work lofts, and thehallway:communityart, a showcase for local artists.
701 History store frontBuilt 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 701 History page Roof Collapsedeveloping 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.