The Cigar Factory

Every time I have driven north on East Bay Street towards the Ravenel Bridge, I have looked over my shoulder to the left and asked the same question....."when is someone going to get their act together and restore the old Cigar Factory?"  I have been asking myself this question for 7 years now.

And I'm not the only one.  Being an architect, people often ask me questions about development.  One of the most common questions I get...."what is going on at the Cigar Factory?"

It has been a mystery.

Around 2006, a developer had begun restoration of the building in hopes of building high end loft condominiums.  Unfortunately, that effort was halted by the recession....

and the mystery continues......."what is going on at the Cigar Factory?"

Finally we can say that there is an answer.

The Cigar Factory is in the process of being restored and renovated into office space, ground floor retail and event space.  In fact, some of the new office suites should be open in about a month.

And I have proof!

Last month Trident Construction was gracious enough to host a hard hat tour of the Cigar Factory for AIA Charleston.  And to top it off, Trident sponsored the after party at Taco Boy following the tour.  Providing a back stage pass to a historic renovation followed up by free libations.  Trident have the key to this architect's heart!

At the time of the tour, Trident was finishing up the core and shell restorations and the interior upfits had just begun.  The masonry skin had been repaired and all of the windows had been replaced and where the previous window openings had been bricked in, new windows have been added.   There were some metal stud walls under construction, but for the most part, the spaces were wide open.   

There is just an unbelievable authentic quality to the spaces of the Cigar Factory. And unfortunately you can't recreate that specialness with new construction.  The ceilings are very tall, 14'+ and the windows are 'ginormous.'  Tons of exposed masonry, wood floors and ceiling throughout.  In fact, it even smells like wood.  And what a view!

The result is a truly amazing space.

Enough of me blabbing......see for yourself:


Eager architects waiting for their tour!  This is the leasing office.

To the right is Todd Bullwinkle with Trident Construction giving us the skinny on the project.  That is the model of the Cigar Factory.

The tour has yet to begin and there is already one architect checking out the ceiling.

This is a good example of what most of the spaces look like.  Very wide open with tall ceilings.  Exposed everything.

There are lots of cool features like this niche.  

The windows were amazing.

Windows, windows, windows.

There are these thick masonry openings all over the place.  It really provides a sense of the weight of the building.

This is the ground floor where some hip new restaurant will go.

Everything is exposed and there are some very cool connection details.

Here you can see some of the walls being framed for office space.

This is a room that is going to be used for events.  Very cool.  There is a subtle slope to the roof/ceiling.

Throughout the building there are these very cool fire doors.  Just an unbelievable texture.

More windows.  

A lot of thinking going on.



Did I mention the view?



Here are some pictures that only an architect would take.

Architects love a good connection detail.

They had these old doors stacked up against the wall.  I wonder what they will do with them?

I call this one..Chipping Red Paint

Love the connection details.

Exposed conduit.

Another cool door.

And another one.

And that's it.  Thanks for joining me on the tour and thanks again to Trident Construction. For more information on the Cigar Factory check out