Living history: Columbia’s Arcade Mall gets makeover, new lease on life


Many of the nation’s shopping malls may be taking a hit from online sales, but the Midlands’ first shopping center is attracting new customers.

Columbia’s Arcade Mall, built in 1912, has been undergoing renovations for more than a year. The L-shaped structure with entrances on both Main and Washington Streets has added a restaurant, office and art gallery tenants while retaining long-time businesses.

None of them with a longer tenure than shoe repairman Bill Ramseur, who’s been working in the mall for 38 years. Ramseur and several other tenants have been able to hold on during a time when the mall itself had deteriorated and occupancy had dropped below 50 percent.

New roof, new look, new life. Built in 1912, Columbia’s Arcade Mall is back in business.

— Jack Kuenzie (@JKuenzie) November 9, 2017

But after Columbia native and real estate developer Ron Swinson bought the property in 2015, he and a partner began work to restore the mall’s roof, skylights, and bathrooms along with the ornate Italian Renaissance interior columns and panels.

The mall now includes a men’s clothing store and a newly-opened Pita Pit restaurant. An area that had been occupied by an art gallery is being turned into a location for a Stoner’s Pizza outlet.

The 105-year-old building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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