Southern First Bank Regional Headquarters/80 Calhoun
Charleston, S.C.
Award of Merit

Owner: Southern First Bank
Lead Design Firm: Stubbs, Muldrow, Herin Architects (SMHa)
General Contractor: SouthCon Building Group LLC
Civil Engineer: Seamon Whiteside Engineering
Structural Engineer: ADC Engineering
Structural Engineer: S&ME Engineering
MEP Engineer: Mechanical Engineering Consulting Associates Inc. (MECA)
Electrical Engineer: Charleston Engineering

With Southern First Bank’s newest facility located on the peninsula of downtown Charleston, the three-story project had to be approved by the city’s demanding Board of Architectural Review. The building’s interior finishes are highlighted by a “floating” staircase encased in stained cherry and featuring a custom-made balustrade crafted by a local artist blacksmith.

The project included demolition of a two-story, century-old structure as well as the excavation and removal of several hundred cu yd of unsuitable material from the downtown site.

Halfway through concrete building foundation work, the project’s concrete contractor went out of business without warning. Despite this, SouthCon Building Group was able to hire another concrete firm, doing so without budget impact and with the loss of just one week of schedule.

Earlier on, the contractor had to deal with another surprise when excavation work revealed a mass of unknown and undocumented utility lines snaking around the site. After months of discussion with designers and various city departments, the power company agreed to lower the main electrical feed—a concrete-encased duct bank—to enable placement of sanitary and storm sewer lines.

As is common for Charleston, the jobsite was highly susceptible to water intrusion. Almost every rain event caused the entire site to flood, says the contractor. Compounding this situation were the 1,000-year flood of 2015 and Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.