Greater Pee Dee Business Journal November/December 2011 : Page 35

Through the years, its basement held the first Florence Museum from 1936 – 1953. The building also housed the beginnings of USC–Florence, which later became Francis Marion University. reduced financing costs, and because it is a registered historic site, it also qualified for a rehabilitation tax credit for historic properties. “We were able to go to Turner Padget with an extremely attractive lease rate as a result of these mechanisms we were able to apply to reduce our cost,” Zeigler says. For the law firm, Barefoot says the property is ideal. “Before, we were in the BB&T building across from the Post Office,” Barefoot says. “That building wasn’t meeting our needs. We started looking maybe 10 years ago.” Now, the firm occupies about 21,000 square feet of the library building. “All of it is attorney space, except the top floor with the big, nice windows,” he says. “We are using that for conference rooms.” Turner Padget is Florence’s largest law firm, according to Barefoot, with 17 full time attorneys and two others that come and go between the firm’s Myrtle Beach and Columbia offices. Statewide, the firm’s offices in Greenville, Columbia, Charleston, Florence and Myrtle Beach include 91 attorneys. Barefoot says Turner Padget is proud to be a part of the city’s new life, which includes the Francis Marion Performing Arts Center, the Florence Little Theatre and the Doctors Bruce and Lee Founda-tion Library. “It was good for our firm as well,” he says. “Everybody is happy. We signed a long term lease. We are planning to be here a long time. Our attorneys in this office are proud to call Florence home.” Zeigler is looking forward to revital-izing other properties – and helping others to do so as well – using the model he and his partners created to salvage a once proud structure and return it to its former glory. “We are very proud of what we were able to with it,” Zeigler says. “We’ve shown that you can buy one of these buildings. If you put the right financing and development together, you can.” And in doing so, the entire commu-nity can benefit. “You put them back on the tax rolls and you preserve part of our history as well,” Zeigler says. GPD BJ NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011 GREATER PEE DEE BUSINESS JOURNAL | 35

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