Press and Media

Groundbreaking Ceremony Officially Launches Construction of BullStreet’s WestLawn Office Building

Mass timber building to be largest of its kind in South Carolina

Columbia, S. C. — A groundbreaking ceremony today officially signaled the start of construction of the BullStreet District’s 79,000 sq. ft. WestLawn office building, the first mass timber office building in Columbia and largest office building of its kind in South Carolina.

WestLawn will be ready for occupancy in April 2022. Hughes Development Corporation, master developer of the BullStreet District, is the developer and leasing agent of WestLawn. Leaders from Hughes Development Corporation were joined by Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and other local leaders from government, business and the community to celebrate the commencement of the project.

Rendering of WestLawn at Pickens and Matilda Evans Streets

The five-story WestLawn office building was designed by globally renowned architectural firm Perkins and Will in collaboration with Robinson Gray Stepp & Laffitte, LLC. The law firm will occupy more than 29,000 square feet on the top two floors, including a private rooftop terrace on the 5th floor. The WestLawn team includes building contractor Brasfield & Gorrie, LLC, civil engineering firm Davis & Floyd, civil contractor C.R. Jackson, and structural engineering firm Britt Peters.

Robert Hughes, president of Hughes Development at the Westlawn groundbreaking on March 25, 2021. Photo by Sean Rayford.

“This is a special day for Robinson Gray, The BullStreet District and all of Columbia,” said Robert Hughes, president of Hughes Development Corporation. “Our mission in the 20-year buildout of the BullStreet District is to honor the past while building for the future. WestLawn does both with mass timber construction that uses one of the oldest building materials known to man in a new and environmentally friendly way. WestLawn will be the largest mass timber office building in South Carolina, and it also will have the most efficient and healthy work environment possible. It is cutting-edge in every respect,” Hughes said.

The first floor will house retail stores, with the top four floors offering Class A office space. Included in the design are vibrant public spaces around WestLawn that will fit in with the new urbanist vision of a walkable, vibrant district for BullStreet, the largest urban redevelopment project on the East Coast.

Pictured: Frank Ellerbe, Becky Lafitte, Mayor Benjamin, Howard Duvall, Robert Hughes, Bob Hughes, and Carl Blackstone. Photo by Sean Rayford.

Huge, 10-foot-tall windows to maximize natural light will encase the building, which will be constructed with cross-laminated timber. Cross-laminated timber was invented in the 1990s as the only structural commercial building material that is a sustainable and renewable resource. It sequesters carbon and significantly reduces reliance upon concrete and steel.

There are fewer than 400 large mass timber buildings in the United States, according to The New York Times. The first one was built in Montana in 2011.

Cal Watson, Robinson Gray’s managing member at the WestLawn groundbreaking on March 25, 2021. Photo by Sean Rayford.

“We are proud to celebrate this next chapter of the BullStreet District and of our firm,” said Cal Watson, Robinson Gray’s managing member. “WestLawn will be a place where history, nature, and tech meet, and we’re excited to share the energy and innovation of our new workspace soon.”

WestLawn is located between Starbucks and Segra Park on Pickens St. between Freed St. and Matilda Evans St. (f.k.a. Williams Dr.) in the BullStreet District. Learn more about WestLawn here:

Rooftop view of WestLawn

About the BullStreet District:

Known as the largest urban redevelopment project on the East Coast, the BullStreet District is an active transformation of the historic, 181-acre South Carolina State Hospital campus into a vibrant, mixed-use lifestyle district that reflects the authenticity of downtown Columbia, S.C. The state’s first urban gigabit community, BullStreet is a city-within-a-city, located one mile from the S.C. State House and anchored by the award-winning stadium, Segra Park, home of the Columbia Fireflies Minor League Baseball team. Well into a 20-year buildout that started in January 2015, the district already is home to an array of local and national businesses, including REI Co-Op and Capgemini. BullStreet contains 125,000+ square feet of commercial/office and retail space and is zoned for up to 3.3 million square feet of commercial use and 3,558 residential units. Follow @BullStreetSC and #BullStreetSC on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and learn more at

About Robinson Gray Stepp and Laffitte, LLC:

Currently located in Columbia’s historic Vista district, Robinson Gray Stepp & Laffitte, LLC, is a South Carolina law firm that offers a tailored, hands-on approach. It provides business transactional and litigation representation in all state and federal trial and appellate courts in South Carolina. The firm’s 32 attorneys serve clients ranging from multi-national corporations to small businesses and individuals. For more, visit