Planned new hotel off Charleston’s Waterfront Park not causing waves

For a city well known for heated battles over architecture and new hotels, the most recent project at one of Charleston’s most visible and historic parcels has so far been met with remarkable calm.

On Wednesday, the city’s Board of Architectural Review-Large will consider Lowe Enterprises’ design plans for a new hotel at 176 Concord St., the former State Ports Authority office building just north of Waterfront Park. The board will look at the height, scale, mass, materials and general architectural direction.

And while the details will be under sharp scrutiny given the project’s sheer size and prominent location, the overall concept is widely expected to receive a warm welcome.

Continue reading Planned new hotel off Charleston’s Waterfront Park not causing waves

Building Charities buys, restores and sells historic homes to benefit charities

The late Billie Hazard was always engaged in her community, supporting and volunteering with her children’s schools, garden clubs, the Humane Society and Junior League.

When the Rhode Island native died at the age of 91 in 2016, her daughter Elizabeth Hazard wanted to carry on her legacy of giving back to the community.

Hazard, a former Charleston resident who now lives in Virginia, came up with an innovative and charitable way.

“When my mother died, she left me some money. I wanted to do something special with it, something that would keep giving and help the community,” says Hazard.

Hazard created “Building Charities” with a plan to buy historic homes, renovate and update, and then sell them, with the intent to provide half of the profits to charity. Most of the other half goes to pay the taxes and fund future projects. She does not profit personally from the endeavor.

Continue reading Building Charities buys, restores and sells historic homes to benefit charities

Short-term rentals threaten to drive up Charleston’s high housing prices and displace residents

In tourism-driven cities across the country, online booking platforms such as Airbnb and HomeAway have all but erased the line between vacation homes and residential rentals.

Zoning rules that once kept them in separate districts have become practically obsolete as the listing services make it easier and more profitable than ever for homeowners to rent a guest house or spare bedroom to visitors.

Over the past few years, many homes traditionally rented by residents have been converted to short-term rentals. In popular neighborhoods, property owners can earn twice as much renting to visitors as they would leasing to long-term tenants, according to data from Airdna, a California-based consulting and analytics firm that tracks Airbnb rentals.

For historic cities like Charleston that are seeing a rapidly growing population and a shrinking supply of affordable housing, the explosion of short-term rentals stands to make a bad situation worse.

Continue reading Short-term rentals threaten to drive up Charleston’s high housing prices and displace residents

Redfin’s 1% listing fee coming to Charleston?

The publicly traded high-tech brokerage expands it’s 1% listing fee to 18 new markets

While Charleston’s booming real estate market has yet to be targeted, Redfin’s continued success and well-funded growth strategy leaves no doubt the coveted Lowcountry will soon be in it’s crosshairs.

After going public at the end of July, Redfin soon rolled out its 1 percent fee to 18 additional markets, including New York City, Los Angeles, Portland (Oregon), Houston and the entire states of New Jersey and New Mexico (see the rest at the bottom of this article).

Redfin stated its plan is to roll out the 1 percent fee to more than 80 percent of its projected seller customers by the end of the year.

The lowered fee is subject to a minimum of $3,000 to $5,500 depending on the market. And it does not include the 2.5 to 3 percent buy-side commission that a seller would typically pay to buyer’s brokers. That means Redfin’s seller clients who benefit from the discount will usually pay a total commission ranging between 3.5 and 4.5 percent.

Continue reading Redfin’s 1% listing fee coming to Charleston?

Four Charleston real estate veterans form independent NAI office

Four veteran real estate brokers with nearly 100 years of experience between them now own their own firm in Charleston.

Thomas BoulwareDavid GrubbsDavid Ingle and Dexter Rumsey recently bought the local franchise of NAI, a global commercial real estate firm. They previously were part of NAI Avant of Columbia for the past seven years. All are equal partners in the firm. Boulware is broker-in-charge.

They say the purchase provides them with more control.

Continue reading Four Charleston real estate veterans form independent NAI office

Work to make Charleston’s Spring and Cannon streets two-way begins Monday morning

One-way traffic on Spring and Cannon streets will change to two-way over the course of the next two weeks.

Work on the Spring Street part of the project starts Monday, and the Cannon Street work will start Oct. 9.

Spring Street is scheduled to become two-way by Oct. 7, while Cannon Street will see traffic in both directions by Oct. 13.

Continue reading Work to make Charleston’s Spring and Cannon streets two-way begins Monday morning

Brand-New Charleston Christmas Special for 2017

A blend of holiday classics and spiritual favorites come together to create a powerhouse of musical moments sure to get audiences ready for the Christmas season. Once again, producers Brad and Jennifer Moranz have pulled together some of the most talented musicians, dancers and performers from across the country for a brand-new Charleston Christmas Special running Dec. 8-23 at the Charleston Music Hall.

More than 10,000 people attend this production each year, making it a beloved holiday tradition for families around the Lowcountry and beyond. Readers also voted Brad and Jennifer Moranz the best Live Theater Group in the 2017 Charleston’s Choice awards sponsored by The Post and Courier.