One week it’s an office building. The next, apartments.

That’s the construction cadence at Nexton, MeadWestvaco Corp.’s 4,500-acre master-planned community that’s starting to take shape in Summerville.

The packaging giant’s MWV Community Development and Land Management unit is expected today to announce plans for The Parks, a 320-unit apartment complex that’s part of the initial phase of Nexton.

It’s also tapping a local real estate developer as its partner on the project: The Beach Co. of Charleston.

Rental units will range from studios to three-bedroom flats. Amenities will include a fitness center, a business center, saltwater pool and automobile garages. The Parks is expected to be ready for occupancy late this year.

Last week MWV broke ground on a 100,000-square-foot office building that it will occupy about one-third of. A Marriott Courtyard hotel is scheduled to open at Nexton in 2014. The first phase of the mixed-use development is near U.S. Interstate 26 and U.S. Highway 17A. The property has been approved for more than 13,000 homes.

Bond bids

Sometimes two law firms are cheaper than one.

That was the case last week at the Charleston County Aviation Authority, which met in part to hire bond counsel for the $170 million in debt it will be floating to pay for improvements at Charleston International Airport.

The agency voted 8-2 to hire the law firms of Howell Linkous & Nettles and Peck Shaffer & Williams over the airport’s longtime bond counsel, McNair Law Firm.

The reason: McNair’s original fee came in at $170,000, or $75,000 more than the competing joint bid.

McNair attorney Bill Youngblood explained that the firm used the state formula of $1 in fees for each $1 million bond increment, up to $250 million. He was then asked if his Columbia-based firm would do the work for $95,000. After an extended pause, he said it would.

Even so, the majority of the airport board decided on the lowest original offer.

Andy Savage, Teddie Pryor, Larry Richter, Tommy Hartnett, Ben Hagood, Mallory Factor, Walter Hundley and Pat Waters went with Howell Linkous & Nettles and Peck Shaffer & Williams.

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley and North Charleston police spokesman Spencer Pryor voted for McNair.

In a related matter, the authority voted unanimously to select Bank of America Merrill Lynch as the lead underwriter for the airport bond issue. Raymond James/Morgan Keenan and Wells Fargo were named co-managers.

Grocery shopping?

A Dutch company that once owned Bi-Lo may be in the market for another Southeast grocery chain.

Bloomberg News last week reported that Royal Ahold NV is interested in Harris Teeter, which is exploring a deal with the help of JPMorgan Chase & Co. It cited unidentified people with knowledge of the matter.

Royal Ahold, which sold Upstate-based Bi-Lo in 2005, “appears to have more than adequate capacity on its balance sheet to complete a transaction,” BMO Capital Markets analyst Karen Short said in a Feb. 20 research note. She named Publix Super Markets Inc. and Kroger Co. as other possible buyers.

Harris Teeter disclosed this month that it hired JPMorgan after being approached by two unidentified private-equity firms. The Matthews, N.C.-based company has more than 200 stores in the Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Maryland, Delaware, Florida and Washington, D.C.

Locally, Harris Teeter operates four supermarkets in Mount Pleasant, two in Charleston and one on James Island. A new North Charleston store will be near Wescott Plantation on Dorchester Road and another is planned for the Carnes Crossroads area near Summerville.

The chain held its annual meeting of shareholders last week. An official statement it issued afterward made no mention of a sale or other transaction.

On the light side

Green may be the trendy color this season at Rooms To Go

The North Charleston furniture store at 7600 Rivers Ave., along with a sister store in Columbia, recently took advantage of South Carolina Electric & Gas Co.’s EnergyWise for Your Business program by receiving a $37,650 incentive to convert from halogen lighting to light-emitting diode bulbs at the two stores.

LEDs typically use about 75 percent less energy than halogen/incandescent lighting and last about two to five times longer than fluorescent lighting, according to SCE&G.

“For most retail businesses, lighting can account for up to 60 percent of annual electricity costs. However, by taking advantage of recent advances in lighting technology and incentives offered through SCE&G’s programs, businesses can reduce energy consumption and make their lighting projects more cost effective,” said Lavita Harriford, manager of SCE&G’s EnergyWise for Your Business program.

Rooms To Go’s “green” lighting upgrades are part of the company’s national effort to install energy-efficient lighting in 115 retail locations in the U.S. As a result, the national retail chain has increased energy efficiency and reduced overall store energy consumption about 35 percent to 45 percent.


Coastal Living magazine has named Daniel Island the site of its 2013 Showhouse to be held later this year to showcase innovation, décor and construction.

The project specialists have broken ground on the house at 1492 Wando View St. and expect completion in early June.

The design team behind the Showhouse includes developer Jamison Howard of Max G. Crosby Construction Co. Inc; interior designer Ginger Brewton of Ginger Brewton Interiors; and Our Town Plans, provider of architectural design.

Weekly tours of the spread will be offered Wednesdays through Sundays from June 28 to Aug. 18, and Fridays through Sundays from Aug. 23 to Oct. 20.

The house is expected to draw as many as 10,000 visitors from across the nation. Tickets are $15 with a portion of proceeds benefiting a local charity.

Tickets are available on-site and online at