McMillan Pazdan Smith was commissioned to bring new life to a historic 4-story building that has been under-utilized and dormant in the Central Business District of Greenville, South Carolina. Originally built in 1949 as an Elks Lodge, 18 E. North Street has been the home to the Elks, retail shops, and restaurants, but the current owner had a new vision for the structure. With the continued growth of a thriving downtown, the vacant 25,000 square foot building was seen as a prime mixed-use candidate, to feature three floors of commercial office space, and a first floor shell ready to accommodate the next entry into Greenville’s ever growing restaurant scene.
Working in collaboration with a historical preservationist, McMillan Pazdan Smith was also tasked with the challenge of preserving numerous historical features of the building, while providing all of the amenities and infrastructure required in a 21st century office environment. Certain elements, such as the grand main lobby with marble wall panels, historical wood flooring and mouldings, and the ornate lobby stairs, have been carefully preserved. In an elegant mix of old and modern, glass walls subdivide spaces on the upper levels into office suites, allowing unobstructed views to the historical spaces while introducing elements that are distinctly contemporary. A unique challenge in transforming a building of this vintage is the incorporation of modern mechanical systems into a structure which was built without such technologies in mind. An abandoned dumbwaiter was retrofitted into a main mechanical chase, and exposed painted spiral ductwork on the upper floors highlight the modernization of this historic landmark. The renovation was completed in December 2015.