Bakery at BullStreet the latest endeavor in Columbia’s high-tech evolution

Originally published October 19, 2016 at http://www.coladaily.com/2016/10/19/bakery-bullstreet-latest-endeavor-columbias-high-tech-evolution/

by Hal Millard

Cola Daily

The Iron Yard - Photo by Columbia SC photographer Sean Rayford

Another step in the process of turning Columbia into a haven for creatives, thinkers, techies, and entrepreneurs will take place this Friday.

The Bakery at BullStreet, the latest historic building to be renovated as part of long-range redevelopment of the 181-acre former S.C. State Hospital campus in downtown Columbia, will open officially on Oct. 21 with a noon ribbon-cutting ceremony.

In addition, festivities will include a happy hour with lawn games, beer, and food trucks from 4-7 p.m.

The building is at 1721 Saunders St., just across the street from Spirit Communications Park. The public is invited to attend.

Tenants in the newly renovated facility include The Iron Yard Columbia computer-coding school, and SOCO, a co-working and event space founded in the Vista in 2013 and opening its second location at the Bakery.

“We love this city; we love its people and we want to be a part of writing a new story for this place we call home,” said Greg Hilton, SOCO’s co-founder.

“We want to build the largest community and platform in the Southeast for creators – independent workers, freelancers and entrepreneurs,” he said. “Our customers want more innovative spaces where they can access the community, connections, and resources they need to do incredible work.”

The Bakery at BullStreet is the first phase of the planned BullStreet Technology Village, and boasts gigabit-speed broadband internet service powered by Spirit Communications for its new tenants.

“We are two years into a 20-year plan to transform BullStreet into an integral neighborhood in downtown Columbia,” said Robert Hughes, chief operating officer at Hughes Development Corp. master developer of the BullStreet district.

Hughes said the plan is to transform the area into a vibrant scene with “walkable streets and a mix of residential, retail, restaurant, and recreational uses.”

“It has been incredibly energizing to work with this team to activate one of the most unique spaces on the campus – and I have to say, the view of the baseball stadium from the back porch of the Bakery is beyond cool,” Hughes added.

“To truly impact the city and make it prosperous, we need a community of doers and makers, and that’s exactly what we’re building…,” said Heather Dughaish, campus director at The Iron Yard, which boasts 21 campuses nationwide.

“We’ve got students in the classroom as we speak, and we’re accepting applications for our next Front-End Engineering class, which starts January 2017,” she said.

The two businesses, and the Bakery, received a hat tip from S.C. Department of Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt as a symbol of economic and technical progress, not only for the city and the region, but the entire state as well.

“The combination of a homegrown tech-talent business and a creative community hub, plus gigabit access, will create the right conditions for technology enthusiasts and entrepreneurs to create and be ready for the jobs of the future in South Carolina,” Hitt said in a statement.