Historic Columbia Foundation Presents GBX Group with Preservation Leadership Award after Transforming 13 Historic Buildings in 13 Years
May 17, 2024
Preservation Leadership Award

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA – GBX Group LLC was presented with the Preservation Leadership Award at the Historic Columbia Foundation 2024 Preservation Awards Ceremony on Thursday, May 16th. As part of the ceremony, GBX was recognized for repurposing and transforming 13 historic buildings across the city in 13 years, and for cultivating economic and community growth that has helped to revitalize historic downtown Columbia.

GBX and its local partners have worked alongside the Historic Columbia Foundation, the City of Columbia, the South Carolina State Historic Preservation Office, and the National Park Service on these projects. The partners that GBX has worked with in Columbia include Tom and Jeff Prioreschi, Mashburn Construction, Chris Rogers and Robert Lewis, Mast General Stroes, Brennan Works, Peach Properties, Scott Middleton, Ben Rex and Freeman Belser, among others. In addition to these great partners, these projects have included a number of local architects, contractors and operators to make the projects a success and transform Main Street.

Downtown Columbia provides a playbook for how to leverage public and private partnerships, preservation tax incentives, and contractors skilled in historic rehabilitation to advance historic preservation and transform a local community,” said Drew Sparacia, CEO of GBX. “Historic Columbia’s Preservation Leadership Award is a great honor, and a recognition of our collective efforts to protect the historic character of at-risk buildings across the city and to revitalize urban neighborhoods.
Preservation Leadership Award Ceremony


GBX is extremely proud to have been involved with 13 projects in 13 years that have helped transform Historic downtown Columbia,” said Antonin Robert, GBX President of Community Development. “This portfolio of projects would not have been possible without the skill and sacrifice of our partners and the local preservation community, including the leadership of the talented team at Historic Columbia.
Preservation Leadership Award Ceremony


GBX Group and their partners have invested in historic preservation success stories across Columbia and they truly personify those qualities Historic Columbia seeks to recognize with our Preservation Leadership Award. They consistently find a way to secure financing and leverage incentives and private capital to make tough preservation projects viable and protect iconic buildings for future generations,” said [Robin Waites, Executive Director of Historic Columbia]. “Our recognition of GBX Group with the 2024 Preservation Leadership Award conveys both a commendation of the 13 historic rehabilitation projects in 13 years that they have completed, and a sense of optimism that they will continue to invest in historic preservation in Columbia for years to come.

GBX has leveraged its expertise in federal, state, and local preservation incentives to facilitate development financing for the preservation of historic buildings across downtown Columbia, protecting their historic character in perpetuity. Working alongside public and private-sector partners, GBX’s historic preservation work has played an instrumental role in helping to attract residents back to the urban core of downtown Columbia, spur job, business, and housing growth, and increase tax revenues for the city to help fund education, public safety, and tourism programs.

A study was conducted in July 2018 by PlaceEconomics, a research firm specializing in analyzing the impact of historic preservation, to measure the impacts on downtown Columbia and examine how preservation changed the area between 2006 and 2016. This report found property value increases of 19% - and even as high as 85% -- on the blocks where nine of the preservation projects were located. Three of the 36 blocks with preservation projects contributed 56% of the total increase in downtown property values.

View Impact Story: “A Capital City Comes Alive - Columbia, South Carolina”

GBX’s work in Columbia continues today with the recent redevelopment of the historic W.B. Whaley House at 1527 Gervais Street. The 1892 property now features apartments and a coffee shop, with additional residential units on schedule to be added in 2024.

About GBX Group LLC

GBX Group LLC specializes in acquiring, preserving, and operating historic real estate in urban markets. The company partners with investors to fund the purchase and preservation of historic real estate with the goal of generating community revitalization and economic growth. As of January 2024, GBX has been involved in 202 real estate projects in 24 states. For more about GBX, visit 


Seth Unger

Vice President of Public Affairs

(916) 704-2777