Cigar Factory nabs 1st commercial tenant

By Liz Segrist
lsegrist@scbiznews.com  
Published May 1, 2014

A week after the Cigar Factory came under new ownership, the long-vacant building that’s poised for redevelopment has nabbed its first commercial tenant.

The Indigo Road Restaurant Group plans to occupy a 7,500-square-foot space on the ground floor for a retail shop, coffee shop, breakfast and lunch counter with prepared foods and an in-house charcuterie program. Indigo also plans a 1,700-square-foot bar and an indoor bocce court.

The Indigo Road plans to develop a bar, coffee shop, lunch counter and outdoor space on the ground floor of the Cigar Factory. (Photo by Liz Segrist)

The Indigo Road plans to develop a bar, coffee shop, lunch counter and outdoor space on the ground floor of the Cigar Factory. (Photo by Liz Segrist)

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Outside of the building at Columbus and East Bay streets in downtown Charleston, Indigo will occupy a 40-seat patio space. Indigo will also be the caterer for the 8,000-square-foot event space on the second floor.

The unnamed project is expected to open in October or November following a roughly $2.5 million renovation project, said Steve Palmer, managing partner of The Indigo Road, which manages several Charleston restaurants.

Palmer envisions a place where people can stop by for a quick sandwich during a lunch break or to grab a bottle of wine after work. On Saturdays, Palmer said he would like to have a farmers’ day where local growers sell their produce.

The space might host pop-up dinners. Popularized in New York City, these dinners are held spontaneously when a chef decides to host dinner at a certain location and lets people know about it via social media.

The space also might schedule public demonstrations from local chefs on how to cut fish, grow vegetables or cook a meal, for instance.

“I see this space as offering a lot of different little experiences,” Palmer said. “In order for the concept to be successful, people have to want to go there more than once a week. I want them to have the ‘I wonder what they’re doing there today?’ mentality.”

Palmer was inspired by unique food spaces around the world, such as Dean & Deluca, a gourmet food retailer based in New York City. He has wanted to bring those ideas to downtown Charleston for several years but desired a place with parking, which can be hard to find on the Peninsula.

When a joint venture between Federal Capital Partners and Roi-Tan Investments LLC officially acquired the building last week, Palmer began courting them to open his concept in the Cigar Factory.

The 244,000-square-foot development sits on 4.5 acres at the base of the Ravenel Bridge in the Eastside neighborhood. The investors plan to redevelop the building into a mixed-use property with space for offices, retail, events, restaurants and more than 170 parking spaces.

Indigo’s space will be modeled after Star Provisions in Atlanta, and chef Anne Quatrano is the project’s consultant and retail buyer. The project is being designed by architect David Thompson.

The Indigo Road manages the Oak Steakhouse, O-Ku, Cocktail Club, The Macintosh, The Oak Table and Indaco in Charleston.

Reach Staff Writer Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119 or @lizsegrist on Twitter.

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