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Charleston Building Auction

Monday, 18 February 2013

A one-hundred-year-old building in Charleston is being auctioned off. And locals hope a new business moving in will mean new business for the whole town square. The historic building on 7th Street was in danger of demolition just four years ago, until the city of Charleston stepped in. Since then, the building has been undergoing renovations for three years, and it's finally ready to house a new business. But with such low foot traffic in the downtown area, business owners and residents alike see this as an opportunity to rejunevate the historic square. Downtown Charleston is a historic and picturesque town square. It's also a hub for small business, but local owners say there have seen fewer people walking through their doors. 513 7th Street is right in the middle of it all, and at an auction Wednesday, someone will join the ranks of the businesses lining the square. Marvin Mirick owns the Indio Smoke Shop just a few doors down from the soon-to-be-sold building, and he says he hopes something will open that draws more people to the area. "And of course Will Rogers closed, the movie theater closed a few years back so that's hurt," says Mirick. "It's been a combination of everything and the square's been pretty slow." The consensus between business owners and residents is clear: they'd like this quiet area to liven up a little. "We need more buildings open and need more stores to draw that population really back to the square ... which I would find delightful," says Charleston resident Cate Borzi. "But I also find it unlikely because it's been very hard for stores to stay open because of the lack of foot traffic." Although it's impossible to predict who will place the winning bid Wednesday, people do know what they DON'T want to see move into that building. "It would be a little disappointing to see another law office in there," says Borzi. "Because law offices do not draw the general population." "I think it'd be a shame if somebody buys it and just uses it for apartments and leaves the downstairs empty," says Mirick. "I think part of the deal with the auction should be it has to put a business in, just because another empty building on the square isn't gonna do us any good at all." I met one man today interested in buying the building, who also says he'd like to see it turned into some kind of retail business. He also talks about the building's past. He says he remembers 50 years ago the building was an old fashioned drug store that he, and many other Charleston children, had lunches and sodas in as a kid. Wednesday we'll find out if the legacy of this building could bring Charleston's stores a blast from the past ... when business was booming. The Wednesday morning auction starts at nine in city hall.

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