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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 

SCRA Will Have Presence at 4,500-Acre Master Planned Community

17 Apr 2013, 1:47 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

SCRA, an applied research corporation based in Columbia, S.C., has announced entering a deal to buy 10 acres at Nexton, the 4,500-acres master planned community that broke ground earlier this year. The company plans to move its Charleston operations and most of its 185 employees to the newly acquired property at the junction of I-26 and Highway 17A.

The deal, which also includes an option to buy seven more acres at the same location, is expected to close within 90 to 150 days, with groundbreaking for the new facility expected to happen within six to eight months. The new facility, currently in its design stage, is expected to be operational by October 2014.

SCRA has signed Choate Construction as general contractor for the project. LS3P Associates Ltd. is joining the development team, handling the architectural aspect of the facility.

“We are excited to announce our plans for relocation,” said SCRA CEO Bill Mahoney. “While we carefully evaluated several properties throughout the region, Nexton was best-suited for our needs, location and space requirements. We look forward to being a part of a community where technology and sustainability are embraced in a walkable, urban environment.”

MWV Community Development and Land Management President Kenneth T. Seeger added: “SCRA and Nexton are a perfect fit. We are both committed to ‘what’s next.’ SCRA’s mission is to help develop technology-based companies, and Nexton seeks to become the region’s most technologically advanced community.”

Nexton, the 4,500-acre master-planned community being developed just a short distance from Charleston at the junction of I-26 and Highway17A, will contain several neighborhoods and villages, as well as major employment opportunities. It will feature several multifamily developments, hotels, LEED-certified office buildings, retail developments, and entertainment and dining venues, along with an abundance of parks. Nexton is being developed by MeadWestvaco Corp.’s MWV’s Community Development and Land Management Group.

Image courtesy of www.nextonsc.com

South Carolina Manufacturing Secures New Investments; Charleston Trophy Office Building Sold

3 Apr 2013, 3:40 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Austrian-headquartered Constantia Hueck Foils LLC, a company present in South Carolina since 1997, is set for an expansion that will increase both its production facility as well as its workforce. According to an announcement made by the South Carolina Department of Commerce, the $12 million investment will increase Constantia’s current facility, located at 1111 Northpoint Blvd. in Blythewood, by 15,000 square feet.

Groundbreaking for the expansion is set for April, with an expected finishing date of October 2013. Construction is handled by an unnamed local contractor. The expansion will also create 15 new jobs, with hiring set to start during the summer. The Vienna, Austria-based company specializes in the development and production of high-performance packaging for the pharmaceutical and food industries.

Another major boost to the South Carolina manufacturing industry was recently given by Miami-based Essex Holdings Inc. by announcing plans to establish a new manufacturing facility in Marion County. The global resources company declared an investment of $54.4 million and 215 new jobs. The new facility is expected to be operational before the second quarter is out.

As of January 2011, South Carolina had recruited more than $8 billion in capital investment and more than 21,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector.

In other news, The Post and Courier recently reported the $24 million sale of Charleston’s newest office building. Located at 25 Calhoun St. in Charleston’s downtown, the property was sold by Concord Park Charleston LLC to CMB Property Co.’s 25 Calhoun CMB LLC.

The trophy-grade office building is currently 93 percent occupied and offers leases for $35 per square foot. The four-story property opened in 2011 with an $18 million price tag. It features a variety of sustainable design elements.

Image courtesy of GoogleMaps

Chart courtesy of Colliers International 

South Carolina Hotel Business Remains Strong; Student Housing Market Slows Down

20 Mar 2013, 4:36 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

U.K.-based InterContinental Hotels Group PLC (IHG) recently announced the opening of the Holiday Inn Express Charleston Downtown–Ashley River following a multimillion dollar conversion. The 153-key downtown Charleston property recently underwent extensive renovation that included replacing all fixtures, equipment and furniture. Some of the hotel’s newest features include walkout balconies and granite countertops.

The eight-story asset is located at 146 Lockwood Blvd. Onsite amenities include a fitness center, outdoor pool, 24-hour business center, circa 700 square feet of meeting space and high-speed Wi-Fi. The property, franchised by an IHG affiliate, is owned by Charleston OPCO LLC and managed by Charlestowne Hotels.

Located next to the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center and just two miles away from Charleston’s historical district, Holiday Inn Express Charleston Downtown–Ashley River is the second Holiday Inn-branded hotel to open in the city in 2013 following the Holiday Inn Historic Charleston Downtown, which opened in January.

In other hospitality news, Paramount Lodging Advisors (PLA) announced brokering the sale of the 92-key Quality Inn and Suites in Spartanburg, S.C. The hotel advisory and brokerage firm represented seller LA3D LLC.

Located at 160 Simuel Rd., the 1998-built property, originally a Fairfield Inn, was converted in 2011 to a Quality Inn and Suites property.  Amenities include a fitness center, outdoor pool, business center, meeting space and conference center.

In other news, plans for the long-hyped 800-unit student housing projects slated to rise on the site of the old 320,000-square-foot Palmetto Compress warehouse have been scrapped. According to Student Housing Planet, Edwards Communities Development Co. informed Columbia city officials of its withdrawal from the plan after the Columbia Design/Development Review Commission denied the developer’s application in late 2012, this followed by a lawsuit by preservationists trying to prevent the building from being razed.

According to The State, Columbia’s city government may now buy the historic property and redevelop it as either residential or mixed-use.

Photo courtesy of Paramount Lodging Advisors via PRWeb

332-unit Columbia Community Picked Up by SVB; Eco-Friendly E-Waste Processor Announces $40M Investment

1 Mar 2013, 9:57 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Kansas City-based SBV Communities has announced the purchase of the 332-unit Quail Run Apartments in Columbia. The purchase, which closed February 22, is SVB’s first step into the Columbia market. The purchase price has yet to be disclosed.

“Columbia represents a fundamentally solid investment with significant upside potential at measured risk,” declared Director of Multi-Family Acquisitions Chris Thomson in a news release. “Occupancy rates have declined significantly since 2010, and rental rates have increased three percent during that time.”

He added: “With rental demand expected to continue and new construction not projected to meet that demand for several years, we are extremely excited about the prospects for Quail Run.”

The 15-asset strong SVB Communities was formed in 2009 and comprises the multifamily real estate division of Spectrum Business Ventures Inc.—a private investment firm based in Kansas City, Mo.

Quail Run Apartments sits on 42 acres of wooded lands and consists of lofts, garden-style apartments and town homes offering one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Units feature fully equipped kitchens with breakfast bars or adjacent formal dining areas, walk-in closets, extra storage, and screened-in porches. Community amenities include a country club-style swimming pool, fitness center, lighted tennis courts, fishing pond, pavilion with grilling area, and pet-friendly walking trails.

In other news, Recleim—a start-up recycler of appliances and e-waste materials—recently announced it will be establishing its first recycling plant in Aiken County.  The facility, a $40.6 million investment, will be located at 118 Hard St. in Graniteville—about an hour away from Columbia. The project is expected to generate around 200 jobs.

The Recleim’s plant will feature state-of-the-art, proprietary technology that will safely contain harmful substance typically found in e-waste while also salvaging about 95 percent of processed e-waste. Furthermore, the facility is expected to be one of the most environmentally responsible and efficient in North America.

Charts courtesy of Colliers International

University of South Carolina Keeps Local Student Housing Market Hot

13 Feb 2013, 7:09 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Student housing is now one of the most dynamic markets in South Carolina, especially in the Columbia metro area. One of the main drivers of the local housing boom has been and continues to be the University of South Carolina (USC), which has steadily increased it student body.

In fact, Student Housing Planet reports that USC has 5,600 more students than 10 years ago. Increasing enrollment was necessary to balance out the loss of state funding, but it has created a shortage of student housing. Furthermore, a significant percentage of existing dormitories needed upgrades. Half of the 25 student residences still need upgrade and maintenance work.

Student Housing Planet reports that USC has spent $94.6 million on renovating six student dormitories in the last four years. Among those is Patterson Hall, which underwent a $32.5 million upgrade in 2011, turning an outdated property into a suite-style development striving for LEED Silver certification. The 544-bed, nine-story dormitory features amenities such as smart classrooms, a cyber lounge, Wi-Fi, spacious kitchens on every floor and larger rooms.

Such revamping is probably what the 551-bed Women’s Quad is in for as well, as the three dormitories within it—McClintock, Sims and Wade Hampton—are slated for a $27.2 million upgrade. By 2015, 1,270 rooms making up seven dorms are slated for renovation at a minimum estimated price tag of $35.4 million. Seven more buildings will be redeveloped or completely replaced after 2015.

The renovation of the Women’s Quad will also include connecting the three dorms, creating 50 more student beds. This along with six new Greek houses totaling 240 beds that could be built in a parking lot across the Greek Village could diminish the housing shortage substantially.

Partnerships with private student residences are needed as well, and there seems to be no shortage of proposed projects. As previously reported on this page, several private student housing projects have been approved in the past few months and are in various stages of development. Such is the Ben Arnold–Monarch Ventures partnership project dubbed Monarch at USC, which aims to redevelop the former SCANA building into an 851-bed, 21-story dorm.

The 258-unit project would offer one- to five-bedroom apartments with amenities such as a study lounge, conference and club rooms, and a fitness center with yoga and steam rooms. Street-level retail, as well as a car and bicycle park, are also imagined.

While Monarch was announced in summer 2012, WC Columbia LLC just recently filed documents with Columbia’s Design and Development Review Commission for a 122-unit 249-bed multifamily project on Pendleton Street near the Amtrak station, reported Student Housing Planet.

Photo courtesy of University of South Carolina Housing’s Facebook Page


Google Invests $600M in Data Center, Michelin Announces $200M Expansion

30 Jan 2013, 5:06 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

The Palmetto State recently secured two major investments with significant impact not only on local economy and job creation, but also on South Carolina’s global image. First off was Google Inc., launching a $600 million investment in Berkeley County. The tech giant kick-started its $600 million expansion plans during a groundbreaking ceremony at its existing data center operation in the Mt. Holly Commerce Park.

The facility houses computer systems and associated components that support services such as Google search, Gmail, Google+ and YouTube. The company is growing its capacity to meet demand for Google’s services. This additional investment doubles the company’s total spending at Mt. Holly to $1.2 billion.

“When Google first announced plans to come to Berkeley County in 2007, we were attracted to not only the energy infrastructure, developable land and available workforce, but also the extraordinary team from the local community that made us feel welcome,” said Data Center Operations Manager Eric Wages in a press release. Following the investment that created 110 on-site, full-time jobs, Google announced in November 2010 that it will be developing a second data center in Berkeley County.

Google’s data centers are notoriously efficient, consuming 50 percent less energy than the overall average. Greening efforts include collecting storm water to be used for cooling servers, a method implemented at the Berkeley County facility. In 2007, the tech company announced its commitment to become carbon neutral.

In addition to sustainable business practices, Google is also involved in supporting the local community, awarding more than $885,000 in grants to local schools and nonprofits since 2008, while also being involved in implementing a free, downtown Wi-Fi network in Goose Creek, S.C. The company operates—or is in the process of developing—six data centers in the U.S, one in Chile, three in Europe and three in Asia.

In other news, tire maker Michelin North America, another prominent investor in South Carolina, has announced plans to invest $200 million and create 100 new jobs at its Starr, Andersen County facility. The expanded One Bib Way could be operational as early as 2014. The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has awarded Michelin job creation credits, as well as a $1.5 million grant for site development .

Michelin is South Carolina’s largest manufacturing employer, with nine of its 18 North American production facilities located in the Palmetto State. Upon the new expansion’s completion, Michelin will employ nearly 9,000 workers in the state.

Photo courtesy of Google Data Centers

Joint Venture Developing $70M Shopping Center; 100-key Boutique Hotel Breaks Ground

22 Jan 2013, 2:54 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

With construction well underway at The Corners at Wescott, New York-headquartered Cohen Real Estate (CRE) has announced the creation of a joint venture between North American Development Group (NADG) and Atlanta-based Hendon Properties to develop the first phase of the grocery-anchored shopping center in North Charleston, S.C.

The long-awaited retail power center broke ground in the third quarter of 2012. CRE, a full-service brokerage firm, brought in NADG to provide new equity for The Corners. “Both the original developer and the new equity partner worked seamlessly throughout the transaction to make sure all of the anchor tenant leases and all city approvals were in place so that construction could start right away to meet the demand for the stores to open as quickly as possible,” Vice President of Cohen Real Estate Michael Cleeman, vice president of Cohen Real Estate, declared in news release. Cleeman represented NADG in the transaction, while President Helen Putterman represented Hendon Properties.

As previously reported, the 22-acre project—located on the corner of Dorchester Road and Wescott Boulevard—will be anchored by Harris Teeter and Marshall’s and shadow-anchored by a recently opened Lowe’s Home Improvement store. The 167,000-square-foot shopping center is 80 percent pre-leased.

According to Councilman Dwight Stigler’s website, probable tenants include Starbucks, Moe’s, Rack Room Shoes, a national pet store chain and a national women’s clothing store. The center is expected to be completed in the summer 2013 and has a price tag of $70 million. Phase two of the project will be developed on 13 acres opposite of Lowe’s.

In other news, Local Hotel Adventures announced the groundbreaking of the Andell Inn—a 100-key boutique hotel near Freshfields Village. The independently owned and operated boutique hotel is scheduled to open in early 2014.

The hotel is a lifestyle concept created by Local Hotel Adventures CEO Don Semmler will feature apartment-like living with each of the room types outfitted with a full kitchen and living space. Amenities will include a fitness center, pool, bar and meeting space. The development will create 123 construction jobs and several permanent positions and will have a $22.8 million economic impact.

Photo courtesy of Local Hotel Adventures via Hotel News Resource

40-acre Redevelopment Project in North Charleston to Include Senior Housing

19 Dec 2012, 5:09 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

40 acres of land in North Charleston are set for a massive redevelopment, as the City of North Charleston and Chicora Gardens LLC are set to enter a $9.2 million purchase agreement for the land, the city has announced. The developer will conduct due diligence and present a master plan before the North Charleston Planning and Zoning Department.

Envisioned as a planned development district with a sustainable interactive environment, the project is expected to revitalize the area around the former Naval Hospital. The recently unveiled initial mock-ups show a mixed-use project abounding in green spaces such as public parks, gardens, living walls and waterfalls around 20 acres.

The development will target the senior population in the area by building a continuing care community featuring senior apartments, assisted living and hospice services. An office building, bank, library, senior recreational facility, pharmacy, restaurants and medical and dental facilities are also envisioned in the ambitious project, set to rise in the 3600 Rivers Avenue area.

Parking will also be constructed and transportation will be expanded. “Transportation is key,” declared Steve Dudash of Davis & Floyd at a press conference announcing the project.

Chicora Gardens has reportedly tapped local firm Davis & Floyd for engineering, structural analysis, landscaping and design for the park and garden element of the project. According to the Charleston Regional Business Journal, the concept is inspired by New York’s Central park.

The 40-acre tract of land comprises the 23-acre former Naval Hospital property and, according to the Charleston Regional Business Journal, the land where the Shipyard Square shopping center once stood. The latter was purchased and subsequently razed by the city for $4.2 million.

The former Naval Hospital site, made up of the 10-story, 360,000-square-foot main hospital building; an additional three-story structure; barracks; parking; and land totaling 23 acres, was purchased by the city in October 2012 for $2 million via an online auction.

Rick Brownyard  of Mount Pleasant, SC is representing Chicora Gardens.

Photo courtesy of the City of North Charleston

Boeing Buys 178,000-Sq.-Ft. Charleston Office Campus

5 Dec 2012, 4:11 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Aerospace giant Boeing Co. is making its mark on the city of Charleston. According to a story by the Columbia Regional Business Report, the Chicago, Ill.-headquartered company has announced it will be purchasing the SCRA Applied Research Center in the northern part of the city.

Although no purchase price has yet been announced, such will reportedly reflect its market value. That will definitely make it one of the biggest purchases of 2012 in Charleston, as the complex was appraised for $25 million in 2010.

The 178,000-square-foot office complex is located at 5300 International Blvd., adjacent to Charleston International Airport as well as Boeing’s North Charleston 787 Dreamliner fabrication and assembly facility. The aerospace company reportedly has no specific plans for the building at the moment, but considering its steady growth in South Carolina, it will be expanding its current operations.

The SCRA Applied Research Center is a 20-acre, three-building business and research campus. It currently houses offices for various entities such as the Charleston Regional development Alliance, the Lowcountry Graduate Center, SCRA and even Boeing. While SCRA owns the buildings themselves, the 20-acre tract the campus sits on is the property of the Charleston County Aviation Authority.

After Boing finalizes its purchase deal for the building on December 13, SCRA will reportedly stay on as property manager throughout 2014 and will keep its offices until all other tenants have successfully relocated. Boeing will also continue to lease the land from the Charleston County Aviation Authority.

South Carolina-based SCRA is a non-stock, tax-exempt applied research corporation. Formed in 1983, SCRA was started by the South Carolina Legislature under a public charter to help develop technology-based industries in the state, with a founding grant of $500,000 and 1,400 acres of undeveloped land. The corporation has been self-sufficient ever since.

Photo courtesy of SCRA

Chart courtesy of Colliers International

Greystar Student Living Lands Charleston Student Housing Management Deal

30 Nov 2012, 2:55 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associated Editor

Greystar Student Living has announced receiving the management contract of Davis Property Group’s 400 Meeting Street Apartments—a 160-bed luxury student housing development in Charleston, S.C.

Owner of Davis Property Group, Russ Davis declared: “We have worked with Greystar Student Living for many years and are pleased to have them involved with this project. 400 Meeting Street Apartments is an exciting new student living community that combines modern eco-friendly conveniences with Charleston’s unique historic urban lifestyle.”

Indeed, the development’s tagline reads “Classy Meets Urban.” Located on Meeting Street between Mary and Reid streets just east of the historical central business district of Charleston, the property is within walking district of the College of Charleston, the Charleston School of Law and midtown Charleston’s major shopping, dining and employment venues of the oh-so-popular Upper King Street district.

The 1.17-acre development will feature 38 four-bedroom, four-bathroom units and four two-bedroom, two-bathroom units—totaling 160 beds. Units will range in size from 863 to 1,515 square feet and will come fully furnished, including full-sized washer and dryer. Community amenities include an elevated saltwater swimming pool and urban sun deck with grilling area and lounge area, a resident club house, exclusive access fitness center, surface parking and 110 covered bike racks.

The secure-access community will feature an extensive elevator system, courtyards and pet walk. 400 Meeting Street will be an Energy Star community. Another green feature will be its onsite car-sharing program featuring hybrid vehicles.

Dallas-based Greystar Student Living, Greystar’s national student housing platform, manages over 13,000 beds throughout the U.S.

Greenville-based Davis Property Group is a real estate development and investment company specializing in the development of infill and urban multifamily properties in the southeastern Unites States. It has been directly involved in the development and financing of over 45 apartment and condominium projects totaling almost 10,000 units.

Photo credit: Greystar Student Living