Member News | January 31

2500 Runners Gather to Tackle Hunger This Saturday

On Sat., Feb. 1, over 500 runners and walkers and 150 volunteers will gather in downtown Columbia to tackle hunger. Net proceeds from The Long Run 15k and The Not-So-Long Run 5k will benefit Souper Bowl of Caring, a nonprofit that uses the energy of the Super Bowl to mobilize youth in a united national effort to care for people in their local communities who are hungry and in need.

Kicking off Super Bowl weekend, The Long Run 15k and The Not-So-Long Run 5k will begin on Gervais St. and end on Main St. There is a tremendous excitement in the running community, as more than 450 pre-registered runners will gather for this inaugural event. They will be competing for some large cash prizes, as well as a bonus to anyone beating the current 15k state record in the overall division. Civic groups from around the community will compete in the Spirit Contest, encouraging runners along the course, for a chance to win $500. After crossing the finish line, the After Race Party will take place in the First Citizens Plaza and will include live music from BandKamp, food from Pawley’s Mobile Eats, The Wurst Wagon and 2Fat2Fly and beverages provided by Liquid Assets.

The Long Run is presented by McAngus Goudelock & Courie and The Not-So-Long Run 5k is presented by Midlands Orthopaedics, P.A. Other sponsors Midlands Surgical Associates, Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, BB&T Insurance Services, Encompass and Nelson Mullins. For more information about cash prizes and registration, please visit

About the Long Run

The Long Run 15k Road Race and The Not-So-Long Run 5k Run/Walk will take place Sat., Feb. 1 in downtown Columbia. Net proceeds from the races will benefit Souper Bowl of Caring, a nonprofit fighting hunger and poverty. For more information about The Long Run, please visit


Jennifer Blackhurst

Blackhurst Promoted to Private Client Relationship Manager

NBSC, a division of Synovus Bank, announced recently that Jennifer W. Blackhurst had been promoted to Private Client Relationship Manager.

Blackhurst joined NBSC in 2007 as a Merchant Services Representative. While in Merchant Services she was named 2008 Rookie of the Year and Top Performer in 2009 and 2010. Most recently she served as Branch Manager of the Broad River Road office.

Blackhurst is an Alabama native and a graduate of the University of South Carolina where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Finance. She is active in the community with the Delta Gamma Alumni Association.

NBSC is a division of Synovus Bank and currently serves 26 communities in South Carolina from 42 locations.  For more than 100 years, NBSC has focused on relationship banking and remains dedicated to the communities it serves. Together with affiliates of Synovus Bank, NBSC offers diverse lines of business and personal financial services including Business Banking, Investment Services, and Mortgage Lending.  For more information, visit

Synovus is a financial services company based in Columbus, Georgia with approximately $26 billion in assets. Synovus’ divisions provide commercial and retail banking, investment, and mortgage services to customers through 28 locally branded divisions, 261 offices, and 363 ATMs in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida, and Tennessee. See Synovus on the web at, on twitter @synovusbank, and LinkedIn.


1511319_10153687472240514_2080386202_a2014 Eating Disorder Awareness Day Press Conference

Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 9:30am in the lobby of the Statehouse (1100 Gervais St, Columbia, SC 29201)

The Leadership Columbia Class of 2014 is working with The Hearth of Columbia, SC to provide awareness on eating disorders and the urgent need for care in South Carolina. A joint resolution will be passed by the legislature prior to this event.

For more information about Leadership Columbia, click here.


Colonial_header_logoColonial Life Donates $750 Whenever South Carolina Men’s Basketball Team Scores 75 Points at Home

In recognition of its 75th anniversary, Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company will make a $750 charitable donation every time the University of South Carolina’s men’s basketball team scores 75 points in a home game at the Colonial Life Arena. The first donation was earned Wednesday night when Carolina beat Texas A&M in an 80-52 victory.

The company will donate these funds through the end of the season to the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families, the charity chosen by coach Frank Martin during last year’s Infiniti Coaches’ Charity Challenge. This organization supports fatherhood programs across the state.

Since its founding in 1939, Colonial Life has grown to become a national leader in the employee benefits industry and a cornerstone of the Midlands community.

“We have a long history of helping America’s workers protect the vitally important things they’ve worked so hard to build,” said Colonial Life President & CEO Randy Horn. “Along the way, we’ve developed a reputation for innovation and excellence, for working to a higher standard to meet our customers’ needs. And we have an equally powerful reputation for making our community a better place to work and live by supporting programs such as the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families.”

Colonial Life will continue celebrating its 75th anniversary with gifts to the community by building a Habitat for Humanity home in March.

About Colonial Life

Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company is a market leader in providing financial protection benefits through the workplace, including disability, life, accident, cancer, critical illness and supplemental health insurance. The company’s benefit services and education, innovative enrollment technology and personal service support more than 79,000 businesses and organizations, representing more than 3 million working Americans and their families. For more information visit or connect with the company with Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.


StomskiNAI Avant Brokers Lease of ±25,735 SF Industrial Building to PTI Plastic & Rubber Gasket Inc., Columbia, SC

NAI Avant broker, Nick Stomski, SIOR, recently represented the landlord, Dan C Burch LLC, in the lease of 739 Old Clemson Road in Columbia, SC.  The ±25,735 square foot industrial facility will be fully leased by PTI Plastic & Rubber Gasket Inc. in the spring of 2014.  PTI specializes in a full range of products to include gaskets, soundproofing, insulating and sealing.

LovelaceNAI Avant Sells 13,500 SF Shopping Center Located on Bush River Road, Columbia, SC

NAI Avant broker, Macon Lovelace, recently represented the seller of the shopping center at 422 Bush River Road in Columbia, SC.  The purchaser, Amber Realty and Holdings, LLC, acquired the shopping center for $725,000.  The 13,500 square foot specialty center is now fully leased and is retaining other key tenants such as Sprint, Blimpie, Ben’s Cleaners, and Asia Nail and Tan.  Amber Realty and Holdings, LLC, represented by NAI Avant broker Rob Lapin, will occupy the last remaining vacant suite by opening a Nutrition Warehouse in early 2014.

HartleyPositive Ending to 2013 Led By Banks Re-positioning in Downtown Columbia, SC 

The Columbia, SC office market ended on a very positive note with tenants continuing the gravitation to higher quality product.  Based on NAI Avant’s reporting methodology consisting of only non-medical and non-owner-occupied multi-tenant office buildings 20,000 square feet (SF) and larger, the overall Class A vacancy rate for both the Central Business District (CBD) and suburban product reflected a combined 12.34%, with the Class A market at 9.62%.  Class B product yielded a 15.35% overall vacancy rate while Class C product reported in at 14.54%.

As the year ended, positive signs were being seen by many Landlords for the first time in years with higher activity levels, reduced concessions, and in general, a much more positive outlook toward the future of the office market.

Central Business District

As has been the case for several years, the CBD remained the strongest submarket within the office market.  Comprising 4.5 million SF of the entire 10.5 million SF office market, the CBD ended the 4th quarter with an overall vacancy rate of 10.47%, with the Class A submarket having the lowest vacancy in the entire Columbia office market at an average of 9.62%.  Class A and Class B quoted rental rates were $19.90/SF and $16.40/SF respectively.

The majority of the tightening of the CBD submarket was clearly attributable to one sector – banking.  The repositioning within or expansions to the CBD of BB&T, Certus Bank, Ameris Bank, First Community Bank, plus the renewed commitment of Regions Bank and the construction of the AllSouth Federal Credit Union on Elmwood Avenue, all validate the fact that banks in Columbia, SC, desire a primary presence in the CBD.  Additionally, with the renewal of the law firm, Turner, Padget, Graham and Laney in the newly acquired (by AgFirst Bank) Bank of America Plaza, competing landlords no longer have to concern themselves with any big-block space being offered to the market by AgFirst in their 1901 Main Street acquisition.  It is anticipated that the Class A market will continue to gain even more momentum in 2014 creating more pressure on rental rates and leasing concessions.

Suburban Submarkets

Columbia’s primary suburban submarkets are comprised of St. Andrews, Northeast, Forest Acres, Dutch Fork/Irmo, Lexington, North Columbia and Southeast Columbia.

St. Andrews Submarket

Consisting of approximately 2.6 million SF, the St. Andrews submarket remains second in size to the CBD.  Vacancy in this submarket has shown three consecutive quarters of declining vacancy, ending 2013 at 19.78%.  As of this report, several significant lease transactions are currently being negotiated which will have a very meaningful impact on vacancy should the transactions all transpire.

Northeast Submarket

Columbia’s third largest submarket is comprised of approximately 1.125 million SF and was 15.52% vacant at year-end 2013.  Rental rates in this submarket average $17.48/SF and $15.30/SF for Class A and Class B respectively.  With several very attractive large blocks of space available in Class A and B properties, market conditions leading into 2014 could bode well for owners.

Forest Acres Submarket

The Forest Acres submarket remains the fourth largest submarket in Columbia consisting of slightly less than 1 million SF of multi-tenant office product.  Since there are no true Class A product types in this submarket, Class B and C make up the entire market.  Rental rates in Forest Acres range from $13.00/SF to $16.00/SF.  Several mid-rise buildings located on Forest Drive (the primary corridor in this submarket) have recently been substantially upgraded and as a result, leasing activity is expected to greatly improve in 2014.


We anticipate the office leasing momentum to continue with increased activity and higher volume in 2014 in all office submarkets. As the CBD continues its occupancy ascent, the suburban submarkets are expected to benefit as well and we should see increases in rental rates across the sectors. While reduction in leasing concessions are expected, it may be closer to 2015 before the playing field is somewhat level between landlords and tenants.  It is also believed that market conditions may well lead to speculative office development, albeit smaller buildings as opposed to “towers” as a result of the lack of high quality product currently available in the market.

About NAI Avant

NAI Avant’s commercial real estate business is one of the largest in the Southeast.  With over 65 professionals, the firm provides comprehensive brokerage, leasing, development, property and project management services.  For nearly three consecutive decades, the group has had more of its brokerage professionals recognized as top producers or recipients of the top awards than any other firm in South Carolina. As a member of the NAI Global Network, NAI Avant is affiliated with over 350 offices and 5,000 professionals in 55 countries across the globe. NAI Global is the largest independent commercial real estate service provider worldwide and a wholly owned subsidiary of C-III Capital Partners. NAI Avant’s Property and Project Management Group currently manages a multi-million square foot portfolio of properties across South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. Through its Avant Healthcare Division, the firm provides comprehensive services to hospitals, clinics, and physician groups. NAI Avant, founded in 1966, is headquartered in Columbia, SC with an office in Charleston, SC. Find out more about NAI Avant and its services at Be sure to follow us on Twitter @NAIAvant and like us on Facebook.


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