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Charleston Boutique Hotels Renovate and Rebrand

14 Nov 2013, 12:57 am

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

The Vendue Inn, a boutique hotel located in Charleston’s historic French Quarter near the city’s iconic waterfront, has announced the kick-off of a $4.8 million renovation and restructuring project. Announced in October, the work will continue through March 2014 and will merge the 66-key The Vendue Inn with the adjacent 19-key Anchorage Inn, which was purchased by Avocet Hospitality Group in August. The Charleston-based full-service hospitality management company also owns The Vendue Inn.

The project will essentially create two new properties—19 Vendue and 26 Vendue—which upon completion, will be collectively marketed as The Vendue. The properties will be operated as separate hotels.

19 Vendue will consist of 45 of The Vendue Inn’s current 66 rooms. The 45 rooms are included in the inn’s main building, on Vendue Street’s south side.

Renovations at 19 Vendue will include new bathrooms, flooring and furnishings, as well as extensive metal canopy awnings on the building’s exteriors. The inn’s remaining 21 rooms, housed in a separate building on the  street’s north side will be merged with the adjacent 19-key Anchorage Inn to create 26 Vendue.

Layouts of both properties will be reworked to feature more open plans.  The Library, 19 Vendue’s popular restaurant, is also set for redevelopment and will be replaced by a yet unnamed larger establishment that will feature a full bar and additional restaurant seating. The Rooftop Bar, also a popular attraction, will have its bar replaced, lighting, bathrooms and elevator overhauled, and have additional enclosures installed as protection against unfavorable weather conditions.

Both assets were initially built as warehouses – Anchorage Inn was built in 1840 and initially served as a cotton warehouse, while the Vendue Inn consisted of five warehouses combined into two separate structures, when Avocet purchased it in 2012.

Charleston companies LS3P and Hill Construction will manage the project. 26 Vendue will remain open throughout the renovation, but19 Vendue will close.

Avocet Hospitality Group also operates the 132-key Tides Folly Beach luxury hotel in Folly Beach, SC, 175 upscale vacations homes in Folly Beach through Avocet Properties as well as almost 200 properties through St. Barth Exclusives, a high-end vacation rental company in St. Barthelemy, French West Indies.

Photo courtesy of The Vendue via Facebook


$34 M Bond Refinances South Carolina Senior Care Centers, Covers Further Expansion

16 Oct 2013, 11:04 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Lutheran Homes of South Carolina Inc., a faith-based, not-for-profit adult care and services organization, has secured a $34.45 million bond financing after collaborating with the South Carolina Jobs-Economic Development Authority (JEDA). The health facilities revenue bonds secured by the Irmo, S.C.-based organization will cover the costs of developing a new adult care facility and will also refinance Lutheran Homes’ existing projects. The financing will also allow Lutheran Homes to retain 1,108 jobs and to hire a further 29 employees within a year and 46 within two years’ time. The Series 2013 tax-exempt, low-rate financing is Lutheran homes’ second bond financing collaboration with JEDA in recent years.

“Lutheran Homes has been able to lower its costs on earlier work and more efficiently pay for new projects as a result of this innovative tax-advantaged financing option,” says Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A. bond counsel Kathy McKinney.

The new facility broke ground in late August at Lutheran Homes’ Rice Estate location in Columbia. The $14 million development will expand the community with a 44-bed skilled nursing and rehabilitation center. Part of the bond will be used to refinance the 113-bed Rice Estate, which already features a 36-bed skilled nursing and rehab center comprised of private, semi-private and companion rooms. The community also features 14 memory care beds and 35 assisted living beds in private suites. Independent living is also available at the Columbia senior care center in 30 one- and two-bedroom apartments ranging between 542 to 927 square feet.

The newly secured financing will also cover renovations at another Lutheran Homes location: Heritage at Lowman. The facility, located in White Rock, S.C. features 60 one-, two- and three-bedroom independent living units in apartment or garden homes that range between 970 and 2,323 square feet, as well as a multitude of enhanced independent living apartment units. A 176-bed skilled nursing and rehab center and a 48-bed memory care facility are also located Heritage and will be refinanced using the newly-secured bonds. Amenities at Lowman include a fitness center with senior-specific equipment, indoor pool, whirlpool, library, beauty/barber salon, chapel, gallery and onsite restaurant.

The bond will also refinance a 355-unit continuing care retirement community at Franke at Seaside in Mount Pleasant, S.C., and a 77-unit independent and assisted living community at Trinity on Laurens in Aiken, S.C.

Lutheran Homes of South Carolina via Facebook

108-Unit Downtown Condominium Project Sold Out in Charleston

3 Oct 2013, 4:54 am

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Charleston’s growing economy and appetite for housing has been reaffirmed with the announcement that Bee Street Lofts, a 108-unit downtown condominium development has officially sold out. Furthermore, resale units are proving highly desirable, spending little time on the market.

Developed by Houston-based Bomasada Group Inc. (BGI) in the height of the recession, the project was able to weather the economic downturn. Josephine Traina, a broker associate with Carolina One was Director of Sales and Brokerage for Bee Street Lofts.

Location was and continues to be a major driving force behind the sales at Bee Street lofts. Its 150 Bee Street address puts the development in Charleston’s Medical District, across the street from the Medical University of South Carolina and Roper St. Francis, which accounts for its residential mix—more than 50 percent of Bee Street residents are medical professionals.

Bee Street lofts is also minutes away from Charleston’s historic downtown as well as the Ashley River and is located on the DASH Gateway Loop shuttle route. Community amenities include a state-of-the-art fitness facility, two green-scaped courtyards, a two-story secure, private parking garage, Art Deco club lounge complete with wine storage and meeting facility that doubles as business center and TV lounge. The community has a Walk Score of 63, and is built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane.

The development is comprised of one-, two- and three-bedroom units that range between 806 and 2,053 square feet, in 11 basic floor plan variations with 41 unique variations. Selling prices range between $275 and $650 per square foot and the added monthly regime fee of $0.30 to $0.35 per square foot applies for insurance, maintenance and access to amenities.

Each condo unit comes with one parking spot included in the sale price, with additional parking spots retailing at $35,000 apiece. Unit amenities include a gourmet kitchen, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, wine chillers, high-end refrigerators, built-in dishwasher and microwave, whirlpool tub, high speed internet access, electronic alarm systems, high-end finishes. Selected units also feature a kitchen pantry, wall-mounted oven, dual sink vanity, built-in bookshelves, art niche and private patio or balcony.

Image courtesy of Bee Street Lofts via Facebook

New Players for Columbia Student Housing Site

19 Sep 2013, 8:09 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

A $60 million student housing project proposed by New York-based Park7 Group for the corner of Blossom and Huger Streets has cleared the Columbia Design/Development Review Commission and now has the necessary approval to move forward with development.

The project site already has the necessary zoning in place due to its inclusion in the Innovista Design District, as well as previous initiatives to develop student housing on the site, according to a report by Columbia Regional Business Report.

The five-story dormitory project features 800 student beds, a courtyard, and parking, and is slated for completion by August 2015. Exterior design elements include corrugated steel panels and stucco.

The Park7 Group was founded in 2010 and includes three separate firms:  Park7 Development, Park7 Management and Park7 Capital. The privately-held company focuses on the development and management of student housing properties nationwide.

The project’s site is owned by Columbia businessman Ben Arnold, president of Arnold Companies, an owner and developer of commercial real estate in the Southeast.

As reported by MHN last year, Arnold Companies and Charlotte-based Monarch Ventures formed a joint endeavor a little over a year ago to develop a 600-bed luxury student housing project at the site. Named Monarch at USC, the project was supposed to receive tenants at the start of the fall 2013 semester.

There are several student housing projects under development or experiencing significant upgrades in Columbia due to massive demand generated by the University of South Carolina, which has increased its student body by 5,600 in the past decade. One of the projects is an adaptive reuse project by Core Campus LLC, which received its approval while Monarch waited for its plans to be approved by the city. Named Hub at Columbia, the $80 million luxury development has just recently started leasing.

Image courtesy of Core Campus

Spartanburg Transaction Yet Again Highlights Strength of SC Manufacturing and Warehouse Facility Market

9 Sep 2013, 4:22 am

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

South Carolina sports the strongest growing manufacturing GDP on the East Coast. It should come as no surprise that manufacturing and distribution facilities are a hot asset to be had in the Palmetto State.

One of the most recent manufacturing facility transactions in the state of South Carolina was brokered by Atlanta-headquartered Bull Realty, Inc. The CRE sales and consulting firm brokered the $10.8 million transaction of a 156,800-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility in Spartanburg County. Bull Realty’s Virginia Wright, CCIM, represented buyer RT Woods Chapel LLC, and affiliate of Chambers Street Properties LLC, a publicly traded net lease industrial and office REIT. Seller ACPS LLC was represented by Greenville, S.C.-based Merritt and Company’s Dick Merritt, CCIM.

The concrete tilt-up style facility is located at 1200 Woods Chapel Road on a 32.5-acre site. Inaugurated in 2009, the property presents the possibility of expanding by 273,000 square feet. It is fully leased on a triple net basis to Lear Operation Corp., a plastic automotive components supplier. It is also in close proximity to I-58, the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport as well as to Greer, S.C., where South Carolina Inland Port is developing a new intermodal facility. The inland port is expected to open by the end of the month.

“In today’s marketplace, investors are hungry for net-leased properties such as 1200 Woods Chapel Road,” said Michael Bull, president and founder of Bull Realty. “These properties typically offer landlords the stability and security of financially strong tenants on long-term leases.” With this acquisition, Chambers Street now owns over 2.1 million square feet of warehouse and distribution assets in the Spartanburg region.

Chambers Street Properties is a net lease industrial and office REIT with a portfolio of 129 assets encompassing 34.2 million rentable square feet, worth $3.3 billion, as of June 2013.

Image courtesy of The Wilbert Group

Chart courtesy of Cushman & Wakefield | Talhimer

JEDA Bonds Make Renovations Possible at Charleston Airport Radisson

15 Aug 2013, 6:52 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Described as “innovative,” bond financing from the South Carolina Jobs-Economic Development Authority (JEDA) has helped an investor purchase and renovate the 159-key Radisson Hotel Charleston Airport.

Specifically, RCB Hospitality, the owner of the 5991 Rivers Ave. hotel, secured an $8.4 million taxable economic development revenue bond to finance the purchase and value-add renovation of the 115,000-square-foot hotel property. Croft Properties, a company with both New York and California operations, led the project for RCB. “We were able to maximize our investment in this project because of the favorable rates and terms provided by JEDA bond financing,” declared Avi Ryzman, managing member at Croft Properties. “JEDA’s taxable bonds are a valuable tool in leveraging the interest of savvy outside investors in South Carolina. Helping them take advantage of the opportunities we offer is a privilege for our firm,” added Sam Howell, bond counsel with Howell, Linkous & Nettles in Charleston.

RCB Hospitality acquired the 159-key hotel property in the spring of 2012 for $5.3 million or about $33,333 per room. Subsequently it began a value-add renovation and refurbishing project at the property which retains the existing 48 jobs and adds an additional 11 new jobs two years within completion of the upgrade. According to CoStar Group’s coverage of the sale, RCB bought the property from Shree Ganpati Hotel LLC in a direct sale that closed escrow in 25 days. At the moment of the purchase ECB considered the asset as a value-add opportunity, planning on renovating and subsequently selling the property.

The Radisson Hotel Charleston Airport features 159 rooms and amenities such as a sunlit tropical atrium complete with indoor heated pool and whirlpool, fully equipped and newly renovated fitness center, business center, high-speed complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, 12,000 square feet of meeting space in several event spaces, with the newly renovated Ashley Ballroom holding up to 300. Dining options include The Haven Lounge and The Haven Restaurant, offering Lowcountry cuisine.

Image courtesy of Radisson Hotel Charleston Airport’s Facebook page 

$1.2B Bull Street Development Receives Green Light

11 Jul 2013, 8:09 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

“Today we made a giant step forward in moving the Greater Columbia Region toward greatness. The Bull Street development will not only transform Columbia, but the recent debate will also impact the way Columbia approaches doing business,” declared Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce President Ike McLeese, according to the organization’s official Facebook page. The announcement came after the Columbia City Council approved the redevelopment agreement of the former mental hospital compound on Bull Street, the former home of the South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH).

According to a Miley & Associates, Inc. economic impact study commissioned by the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce, upon completion the redeveloped 180-acre former hospital campus would generate over $1.2 billion economic activity, create 11,000 ongoing new jobs, $581 million in labor income and a yearly $20 million in property taxes that would be divided between the local government and schools. Moreover, 1,200 construction jobs will be created during the 20-year development process.

The project has been in the making eight years with the SCDMH and Greenville, SC-based Hughes Development signing a potential build-out plan in 2010. The project’s most recent master plan is signed by the Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company (DPZ) and Cooper Carry, and it involves an impressive percentage of adaptive reuse projects, with 74 percent of existing structures to be repurposed with a  high emphasis on preserving the historic character of the buildings, including the iconic Babcock Building, a Columbia landmark and former mental asylum. In total, 3,558 residential dwellings are envisioned for the project, including apartment units, condominiums, townhomes as well as single family homes of various sizes and incomes. The project also calls for the development of  1.6 million square feet of commercial and office space, a 70-key hotel and church locations, as well as various community facilities and public spaces such as biking and hiking trails, recreational areas, and large-scale off-site roadway upgrades and maintenance. A minor-league baseball park and franchise are also being considered.

According to the Columbia Regional Business Report, the City of Columbia will fund $31.25 million in infrastructure improvements throughout the build-out if the developer will invest a minimum of $81.25 million. Furthermore, the city will construct two parking decks totaling 1,600 spaces upon the completion of either the rehabilitation of the Babcock Building, development of 120,000 square feet of taxable property or building of a baseball stadium. A primary school is expected to be needed and developed on site in the future as well.

Image courtesy of JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD via Wikimedia Commons 

South Carolina Manufacturing Going Strong; Crescent Signs Former Disney Development Executive

3 Jul 2013, 7:34 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

South Carolina’s economy is growing strong, show the latest reports. According to numbers cited by the South Carolina Department of Commerce, the Palmetto State’s 2.7 percent Real GDP growth rate outpaced not only the regional average of 2.1 percent, but also the national average of 2.5 percent.

One of the strongest industries of South Carolina has proven to be its manufacturing, with the state recruiting over $9 billion in capital investments since 2011, creating over 23,000 manufacturing jobs. Such is the growth rate of its manufacturing industry, that the Palmetto State now sports the strongest growing manufacturing GDP on the East Coast.

And it’s no surprise. During the current month already hundreds of new manufacturing jobs have been announced as a result of millions in private investment projects throughout the state. Among June’s investments are two facilities in Barnwell County that are expected to create 95 new jobs. One of the projects will be an expansion of Dayco Products LLC’s existing manufacturing facility worth $2 million. The automotive manufacturer will add new equipment to the facility and create a minimum of 15 new jobs. The second Barnwell investment announced is also an expansion. National Beverage Screen Printers Inc. (NBS) has announced expanding its Williston operations to the worth of $2.5 million that will create 80 workplaces. Another major June project was Canadian bakery products manufacturer Fancy Pokket Corporation’s groundbreaking of it $13 million brand new gluten-free production facility in Lancaster County. The 57,000-square-foot plant will be located in the Air-Rail Business Park, where it will create 68 new jobs over five years. The $13 million facility will be up and running in 2014.

In other South Carolina news, leading multifamily developer and operator Crescent Communities has announced its appointment of former Disney Imagineering/Disney Development Company Executive David Muenks as senior development manager to lead planning for Palmetto Bluff, a Crescent signature community in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. Muenks’ previous experience includes professional consulting firm Fetterhoff Company. At Fetterhoff, Muenks directed program and project management support services for Shanghai Disney Resort, Walt Disney Imagineering’s retail and entertainment district under development in China. He was also at the forefront of design and construction of infrastructure and resort facilities at Walt Disney World Resort and The Celebration Company in Orlando, Fla.

Photo courtesy of Crescent Communities

$42M in Apartment Transaction for South Carolina

29 May 2013, 2:14 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

South Carolina’s apartment market saw two significant purchases recently. The acquisitions of The Reserve at Riverwalk in Columbia and Woodfield St. James in suburban Charleston, part of separate deals, totaled 464 units worth a combined $42.2 million in traded apartment assets, stirring up the state’s Class A multifamily market.

Located in the Charleston suburb of Goose Creek, the 244-unit Woodfield St. James was recently acquired by Florida-based Trade Street Residential Inc. (TSRE), a fully integrated owner and operator of apartment assets.

The company paid $27.2 million for the Class A garden-style community that features amenities such as a movie theater, business center, fitness center, resort style pool, clubroom, outdoor kitchen/grill/ television, fire pit and billiards. Individual units feature a fully equipped gourmet kitchen, walk-in closet, balcony/patios, and rent at an average monthly rate of $901. The community is currently 98 percent occupied.

Designed by Housing Studio, the apartment complex was finished in 2009, with C.F. Evans Construction as the main contractor. TSRE is currently arranging mortgage financing on the property, with a $19 million lender commitment already in place featuring a 10-year first mortgage at a 3.75 percent fixed rate. This will be followed by two years of interest payments, then principal and interest payments based on a 30-year amortization schedule.

TSRE also bought the 256-unit Woodfield Creekstone apartment complex, a newly built project in Durham, N.C. partially funding both acquisitions with proceeds from its recently completed public equity offering.

Multifamily REIT Landmark Apartment Trust of America (LATA) also made subsequent acquisitions in South and North Carolina, picking up the 220-unit Reserve at River Walk apartment complex in Columbia, S.C. and 380-unit Victoria Park in Charlotte, N.C. (Read more Victoria Park’s purchase here).

Although set to go through some repositioning renovation, The Reserve at River Walk—now Landmark at Reserve at Riverwalk—already features attractive amenities such as a swimming pool, fitness center, tennis court, picnic area, car wash, resident activities program and generous landscaping. Comprising one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, the community is located close to several medical and shopping centers, as well as public parks. LATA purchased the asset for $15 million.

Image courtesy of the Woodfield St. James Facebook page

Hilton Garden Inn Greenville Sold for $15M

15 May 2013, 4:08 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Leadership of Hunter: Lee Hunter – Chief Operating Officer, Robert L. Hunter – CEO, Teague Hunter – President

Hunter Hotel Advisors has announced the sale of the 120-key Hilton Garden Inn Greenville located at 108 Carolina Point Pkwy. in Greenville, S.C. The company, a leading provider of specialty brokerage services and capital markets advisory services, represented seller Deean Hospitality LLC—a South Carolina-based company.

Hunter brokers Teague Hunter and Trey Scott were involved in the property’s sale to Summit Hotel Group. According to a press release, the hotel asset sold at a value of $127,000 per key, adding up to a grand total sale price of $15 million.

“We marketed the hotel to well capitalized buyers with whom we have very strong relationships. Like most of our transactions today, the process was completed quickly and quietly,” declared Hunter Hotel Advisors President Teague Hunter. “We were able to bring the property to market and complete the transaction in just five months.”

The 120-key, four-story Hilton Garden Inn Greenville features amenities such as 24-hour business center, meeting rooms (with the largest offering 2,508 square feet of space, capable of accommodating 250), complimentary Wi-Fi, a fitness center, swimming pool and 24-hour Pavilion Pantry Market. Other onsite dining/lounge options include the Pavilion Lounge and the Great American Grill.

According to Trey Scott, vice president of Hunter Hotel Advisors, the hotel’s location and strong cash flow made it an appealing investment for buyer Summit. “They outbid three strong competitors,” he added.

Hunter currently has just short of 100 hotels on the market worth almost $1 billion. As of this transaction, Hunter has successfully closed 22 transactions in 2013, with six more sales expected to close before the month is out.

Image courtesy of Hunter Hotel Advisors’ Facebook page