Project: Monarch Building / First National Bank of Camden
Awarded to: Owners Laurel and Westley Parks of P&P Investment Partners, Camden, Rick Spicer, Architect, Lambert Architecture & Construction Services, Columbia
Submitted by: Katharine Spadacenta, City of Camden – Main Street Program
The Monarch Building, otherwise known as the First National Bank of Camden (c. 1903) is a three-story masonry building located in Camden’s historic downtown district. At the time of its initial construction, and for many decades after, it was a towering, architectural centerpiece of the downtown commercial district. But, over time, the second and third floors were vacated and fell into disrepair, while the first floor operated as a hair salon and spa. Laurie and Westley Parks purchased the building in 2019 with plans to bring the building back to its historic elegance, completely renovating all three floors, while creating new downtown residential space and an innovative dining experience.
This project utilized both federal and state historic tax credits, as well as the South Carolina abandoned building tax credit and local economic development incentives. Choosing to perform a “certified rehabilitation” of the building added a significant degree of difficulty to the project, particularly when it came to bringing the building up to international fire code requirements while maintaining a historically significant appearance throughout. Working with the reputable firm of Lambert Architecture & Construction Services, initial construction and renovation was completed in late 2020, receiving a certificate of occupancy from the City of Camden on December 28, 2020. Broad & Vine wine bar opened in late February 2021, boasting a 32-bottle self-serve wine system, small plates menu, and a tasting room for private parties and future tasting events and classes. This $2.2 million project is an outstanding example of commitment, not only to historic preservation, but to community and economic revitalization in one of South Carolina’s most historic downtowns.
The Monarch Building received its “certified rehabilitation” approval in March 2022. This project has set a new precedent. Laurie and Westley Parks have demonstrated a strong commitment to historic preservation; they have purchased two additional buildings on the same block with plans for more upper-level, downtown residential living. These investments, and their vision for a more livable downtown, have also inspired several other local investors to purchase and begin renovating historic properties in the commercial district, nearly 10 buildings to date. And we have only just begun to see the positive economic impact of Broad & Vine’s unique offerings and experience. In its first year of operation, this new business brought visitors from all over the Midlands region and the state to Camden, was featured in a wide variety of regional publications and tourism publications and has given locals a new reason to “make a night of it” in downtown Camden.