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staats graffitti

Graffiti on the side of the Staats building on West Washington Street in Charleston.

West Side property developer Tighe Bullock’s quest to turn the former Staats Hospital into a multi-use building received a recent setback when vandals spray painted graffiti on one side.

Motorists entering the Elk City area on Washington Street West are greeted by the graffiti, a sizable eyesore that contains what looks like the word “BEAN.”

Bullock is trying to get a distillery up and running in a small property he owns next to the building. That project appears relatively close to completion, while the bigger structure remains a challenge — one that just gained a nuisance factor with the graffiti.

“I don’t have the money to remove it until I get the building up and running,” he said. “It’ll just have to stay there.”

Signs in the downstairs window of the main Staats building advertise one- and two-bedroom condominiums available in the fall of 2022. Bullock says he hopes historic tax credits will help him finance the estimated $8 million it will take to build out the bottom floor into what he envisions as a multi-vendor mall of sorts, and to rehab the upper floors into living spaces.

Plans for upper-floor condominiums jibe with similar planned projects around town. Developer Allen Bell confirmed last week that the former Commerce Square/Huntington Banks building is already under renovation for 67 condos, while the Atlas Building on Quarrier Street has already been converted and is full of tenants. A project on Virginia Street is also looking to get off the ground.

Bullock has owned the Staats building since 2014. A health clinic used to occupy the distillery space and the first floor of Staats, while the upper floors were left to disintegrate. Water from a bad roof nearly ruined the fourth floor, he said. A low-interest Charleston Urban Renewal Authority loan provided funds for the roof fix, but further progress has been slow.

While Staats has proven elusive to complete, Bullock has succeeded in acquiring and rehabilitating several other Elk City properties.

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