The former Travel Center Inc. on Russell Street in downtown Orangeburg is being renovated.

Blackwater Equities LLC purchased the 2,925-square-foot building in March 2020. It plans to rent out the property.

“We are trying to incorporate some modern features as well as maintain the historical presence of the building and expose some of the original interior design and construction of the property,” Blackwater Equities principal and building owner Stoney Bachman said.

Bachman said his desire is to see two retail spaces on the ground floor and a larger office area upstairs accessible from the exterior.

He foresees possibly a boutique or coffee shop locating downstairs. The upstairs could perhaps become an office for an attorney or accountant.

He noted the city of Orangeburg has plans to make the former First Citizens building across the street into city hall.

“I think this would be ideal adjacent space to that,” Bachman said.

Bachman said the building could also become a barber shop or a hair salon.

The goal is to have the property complete by the fall and open for business shortly after, Bachman said.

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Renovations began on the building about eight months ago.

So far the roof has been repaired and new windows added upstairs.

The entranceway into the upstairs will be remodeled with new railings and an awning added.

“It will be decorative and add some aesthetic value to the property,” Bachman said.

Bachman said by the looks of the building, it was constructed at least in the early 1930s or perhaps earlier.

He said the building, “was in a really bad state of decay.”

“We had a significant termite infestation. We had a lot of infiltration with rainwater and moisture,” he said.

Bachman said, “I really wanted to invest in this business so that it would last another 100 years.”

“It is important not just to have rental space to flip property,” he said.

Bachman, who owns several properties in the downtown area, says he sees possibilities downtown.

“I think there is a lot of potential in a lot of properties here on Russell Street. I have a lot of hope that we could make this into something to bring this side of town back to life,” he said.

Norway-based Brunson Roofing and Remodeling is handling the remodeling work.

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