An iconic Charleston building is about to take on new life and luster after an extensive makeover.
The building at the corner of Wentworth and King streets, 71 Wentworth, is an especially interesting iconic structure in a city known for interesting, iconic structures. Designed by 19th century Charleston architect John Henry Devereux, 71 Wentworth was originally a Masonic Lodge built in the Tudor Gothic Revival style, complete with all the accents and gadgetry available at the time, including richly molded and arched windows as high as 18 feet tall and cathedral ceiling heights of 20 to 40 feet.
The original second-floor Grand Lodge Room, some 4,200 square feet, seated more than 1,000. However, by the late 1870s, the Masons found themselves financially challenged and agreed to share the building with a state militia unit. Around 1940, the building would morph into use as retail, office, theater and other sporadic uses. And like many iconic historic Charleston structures, while it would never lose its character, it did get a little down at the heels.
Then, in 2019, East West Partners, a real estate development firm specializing in high end luxury properties, acquired the building. The idea, noted East West managing partner Miller Harper, was to renovate the building to its former glory without compromising the character of the building or the neighborhood.
“71 Wentworth is a restoration that deserves and will receive the utmost respect for the past and true passion for Charleston’s future,” said Harry Frampton, founder/chairman of East West Partners.
Plans call for the building to house 12 luxury condominium units ranging from 1,416 to 2,626 square feet. With a price point starting at $1.7 million, each unit will feature 19-to-25-foot ceilings, historically replicated 12-to-18-foot tall Gothic-style windows, covered, open-air courtyards in select residences, exposed antique brick, salvaged heart pine timber and beams, luxury kitchens with integrated appliances, custom, handmade islands and custom-designed cabinetry. Interiors will be finished in plaster and reclaimed original heart pine accents.
In addition, homeowner services will be provided by Inspirato, a company that specializes in maintaining and servicing luxury vacation homes.
The financial investment for the project was not revealed.
East West, which has done several projects in the Charleston area, including downtown’s Vendue Range, partnered with Courtney Bishop Design and Kevan Hoertdoerfer Architects, both Charleston-based firms, to help bring the project to fruition. Trident Construction is the general contractor.
“I’ve waited for the last ten years to have the opportunity to bring this landmark property to life and we will do so with a keen respect for the extraordinary bones of the building, the vibrant neighborhood in which it will live, and the residents who will soon call it home,” Harper said.
All 12 units have already sold; completion of the project is expected in fall 2023.
Jim Tatum is a contributing writer for SC Biz News.