'Office Village' Planned for Irmo, S.C.

Nov. 5--Century 21 Bob Capes Realtors plans to develop new office and retail space near a busy Irmo crossroads.

Company president Jimmy Derrick said the $12 million to $15 million project involves a group of office and retail buildings on a four-acre site at St. Andrews Road and Fork Avenue, just south of where St. Andrews meets Lake Murray Boulevard.

He calls the project, which includes a new home for the Bob Capes Irmo operation, an "office village."

Currently the Bob Capes Irmo operation works out of an office in Ballentine. Derrick said he is excited to reopen an office in Irmo, a town where his family has had ties for generations.

Ultimately, Derrick said, he expects up to 300 people -- including about 60 of his employees -- could work at the site. He expects the Bob Capes office to be open by July. The rest of the project could be finished by the end of 2006.

The buildings will look similar, standing two stories and constructed out of a yellow brick like the one used to build USC's Strom Thurmond Wellness & Fitness Center.

The idea is to bring back to life a corner that Derrick called an "eyesore."

That stretch of St. Andrews Road hosts a grouping of random retail and office buildings straddling the corridor linking Harbison's mall traffic with Lexington County's subdivisions.

The site's size and topography made planning a building difficult, said Margaret Tonkin, director of business development with Hood Construction Inc., the project's builder.

The shape did not have enough road frontage to subdivide, and the four acres slope down from St. Andrews Road into a sort of valley before rising again. Work on the site is currently smoothing the slope and laying the foundation for Bob Capes' building -- the first to be built at the corner.

"Everybody was afraid of the property because it was a hole," said Terry Buchmann, an architect with the project's designer, Garvin Design Group.