The Peace Center will meet with the City of Greenville’s Design Review Board on February 7, 2019, to present a proposal for restoration of the Wyche Pavilion.
Peace Center President and CEO Megan Riegel has spearheaded the project, along with the Peace Center’s Executive Committee, and Keith Summerour of Summerour and Associates. The restoration furthers the mission of the Peace Center by creating a new performance and event space, serves the community by enhancing the connectivity to Falls Park, and preserves a building with historical significance to the city.
“This project will significantly enhance the Peace Center and downtown Greenville,” said Riegel. “It takes the shell of a building which is an underutilized real estate asset and creates a new music and event venue. The renovation will dramatically improve the Peace Center’s riverside campus, particularly the pedestrian walkway from Broad Street to Fall’s Park. The landscaping, designed by Earth Design, will feature lush, environmentally friendly plantings carefully chosen to evolve with the change of season. A highlight of the project is the new riverside walkway and deck adjacent to the Wyche.”
Buildings on this site along the Reedy River have a nearly two-century history and made up the city’s largest industrial complex. A two-story wooden structure was built in 1835 as part of the original Greenville Coach Factory. The brick building known today as the Wyche Pavilion was built next to the wood building in the early 20th century to serve as the paint shop for the factory. While the wood building is no longer present, the Wyche Pavilion was re-purposed. In the mid-1920s, Eugenia Duke purchased and modified the building, creating offices and a space for the production and packaging of Duke’s Mayonnaise.
The building had been abandoned since the 1950s and had fallen into disrepair when it was purchased by the Peace Center in the late 1980s. The Peace Center intended to restore the building as part of the initial campus development; however, financial constraints prevented those plans from coming to fruition. Instead the building was reduced in size, gutted and turned into the open-air pavilion that exists today. It was named the Wyche Pavilion in honor of Tommy Wyche, a Greenville native who was instrumental in the transformation of the downtown area.
With designs by Summerour and Associates, the existing shell of the building will remain intact and be carefully preserved. The addition of windows and doors, ceiling fans, and HVAC will allow for year-round use. A two-level expansion featuring a grand foyer, an artist green room, meeting spaces, restrooms, and a kitchen will be added alongside the current building footprint.
The Wyche will be outfitted as a fully-functioning performance venue, featuring state of the art sound and lighting equipment. The open floor plan will allow for a variety of configurations, from cabaret to concert-style seating, to a standing-room-only club space. In addition to the grand entryway which overlooks the Reedy River, the new structure will support significant catering and back-of-house operations, positioning the Wyche as an ideal year-round event space in the heart of downtown.
Peace Center Founding President Betty Stall said, “I am just delighted by the new plans for the Wyche renovation. Our original vision for the Wyche, developed by Kirk Craig, included adding a second floor for a restaurant or office space. This never happened because at the time the vast financial resources required to open the Peace Center were necessarily and appropriately allocated to the Peace Concert Hall and Gunter Theatre.”
The Wyche restoration is the first phase of the Peace Center’s larger master plan, which includes renovation of the Roe Coach Factory and two buildings located on Main Street: the Markley and the Gullick.