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Demand brisk for new Land Bank Lofts apartments

Real Estate - Residential
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Tenants already are moving into the former Federal Land Bank building, which is being converted into luxury apartments.

Residents began arriving in late May, said Shayla Riley, community manager for Arlington Properties. And, as of mid-June, 54 of 114 units at the Land Bank Lofts had been leased or preleased, Riley said.

Daylight bathes the living room of a model apartment at the Land Bank Lofts, formerly the Federal Land Bank building. (Photo/Chuck Crumbo)Demand for the units has been building since spring 2014 when Memphis, Tenn. developer Heritage Land & Development announced a $16 million project to repurpose the 118,000-square-foot, iconic office building at Hampton and Marion streets into an apartment building.

Located two blocks off Main Street and on the edge of the University of South Carolina campus, the building has attracted a mix of young professionals like medical school residents assigned to local hospitals, lawyers, and graduate students. In addition, Riley said a number of consultants have leased units while in town to help with the city’s efforts to rebuild from October’s devastating floods.

Leasing has been brisk, Riley said, adding that a soft launch will be held later this month at the Capital City Club. She added the building is on track to be 94% leased by Aug. 31. Rents range from $965 a month for a studio unit to as much as $1,675 for some two-bedroom units. The building offers a number of amenities such as washers and dryers in each unit and a concierge desk.

One of the building’s attractions, said Trisha Conyers, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., who headed the interior design team, is the steel-encased 54-inch by 90-inch windows in each apartment.

“The windows are everything, and I particularly love these windows with the chicken wire (reinforcement) in the middle. It just gives it that flavor that nobody else has,” Conyers said.

With 15-foot-high ceilings, the units feature partial walls to convey a sense of space and allow window light to reach interior rooms.

Heritage president Will Yandell said some of the interesting quirks of a former bank building are being retained. For example, one second-floor unit will have the main vault serve as a bedroom or office.

Apartments along Marion and Hampton streets will have access to balconies that were not used when the building was occupied by AgFirst. And, the developer preserved “Tunnelvision,” the large-scale mural on the Taylor Street side of the building by Columbia artist Blue Sky.

With its location on tree-lined streets in an urban setting, Conyers says the Federal Land Bank might be comparable to the apartment buildings found “off Fifth Avenue,” one of Manhattan’s tonier neighborhoods.

That feeling of richness and opulence also is conveyed by the brass exterior doors that open to the marble-walled lobby, Conyers said.

“I think its spaces empower you,” Conyers said of the building. “I think that when one walks into the Federal Land Bank, one is immediately empowered by that lobby … it’s so overwhelmingly beautiful. And then you walk to your apartment and you feel the beauty and power of the past, and I think that makes you want to live up to that – you rise to the level of your circumstances.”

Reach Chuck Crumbo at 803-726-7542.

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