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Calif. firm with ties to Wild Dunes contracted to buy port HQ property

Real Estate - Commercial
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A California real estate development firm with ties to Charleston plans to buy the S.C. State Ports Authority’s waterfront headquarters building in downtown Charleston.

The 1.74-acre site is a prime piece of real estate on the peninsula — one of the few remaining available parcels overlooking the Charleston Harbor.

An affiliate of Lowe Enterprises, a California real estate development firm with ties to the Lowcountry, plans to buy the S.C. State Ports Authority’s 1.74-acre site along Charleston Harbor. (Photo/Liz Segrist)

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An affiliate of Los Angeles-based Lowe Enterprises plans to buy the entire site, which includes the port’s office building at 176 Concord St. and Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar at 186 Concord St., according to an emailed statement from the port. The restaurant has a lease with the port through February 2024.

The ports authority board voted on April 20 for staff to move forward with the bid from the affiliate of Lowe Enterprises, which has owned and operated Wild Dunes Resort on Isle of Palms for 25 years. One week later, on Wednesday, the ports authority formally entered into a contract with the buyer and disclosed the company name.

The port did not disclose the sales price. In the statement, the port said that the firm “submitted the best financial offer for the property.”

Lowe Enterprises put down the required $1 million deposit. The 120-day due diligence period began April 20. During that time, the company can retract the bid or move forward.

The deposit becomes nonrefundable after the inspection period. After due diligence, the buyer must close within 30 days, which would make the sale final by October. The sale also requires approval from the S.C. Department of Administration.

The port announced plans in January to sell the downtown site and relocate office operations to Mount Pleasant to build an office near the Wando Welch Terminal on port-owned land.

No details have been made available about how large the facility will be or how much it will cost. Money from the headquarters property sale will pay for the new office, Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome said.

The maritime agency has operated out of the 36,000-square-foot brick building along the waterfront since the 1970s. Newsome said he wants to consolidate all office and administrative staff into one building.

The port has requested that the buyer lease the site back to the authority for 24 months while a new headquarters is built.

Reach staff writer Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119 or @lizsegrist on Twitter.

Reach Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119.

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