Gregg Crawford addressed the Columbia Chamber of Commerce at their monthly meeting last Wednesday to provide an update on his Main Street Abbey development.
Main Street Abbey is a multi-use development that will include event space, dining, living space and more in the buildings and on the grounds of the former Immaculate Conception Church, convent and rectory on South Main Street, and eventually the adjacent school building.
The church, convent and rectory have been deconsecrated but the school is still in use.
“Phase one is the church becoming an event center,” Crawford said. “Pretty much everything is out of the church now. We’re actually in the process of painting inside the church,” Crawford said.
“The rectory will have five lofts and then in the convent we’ll have a coffee shop on the first floor and a hair salon, and then on the second and third floors we’re going to have lofts there as well.”
He continues to work on site plans, installing parking and evaluating exactly the location and manner of required ADA compliance.
“The school is also going to have space for meeting rooms. The gym is going to be a microbrewery that will be modeled after a place in (Las) Vegas,” Crawford. “But the whole concept is modeled after a property in Portland, Ore., called Kennedy School.”
Crawford said he has been looking at the Immaculate Conception property for 10 years.
“We’ve been going out to Portland for a while, and we’ve watched (that development) transform that end of town. I think this has the opportunity to do the same thing in Columbia to that end of town, bring more business.”
He noted the Abbey will be a destination — not just for an evening, but for a weekend.
“That’s really what we want, to get people to come to Main Street and spend some time,” he said.
Crawford hopes to have the event center open in early spring 2017, and the convent and rectory in later spring 2017.
Immaculate Conception School administration has expressed plans to break ground on their new school next to the current church on Palmer Road in spring 2018, with students slated to move in by fall 2019.
At that point, Crawford will begin work full force on the old school, turning it into a dining, shopping and bed and breakfast experience with a nod to the building’s former days as a school.