The long-slumbering Midtown real estate development in downtown Charleston is stirring back to life.
Construction crews last week tore down the drive-through area at a historic building where King Street meets Cannon Street, signaling the start of renovation work at the former Bank of America branch.
The structure is just one piece of the ambitious Midtown plan, which was approved in 2008 for a 238-room hotel, plus 20,000 square feet of retail space on King Street, and an equal amount of residential and office space above the stores. Charleston-based multifamily giant Greystar is working through contaminated-land issues so it can build 200 apartments on the Meeting Street side of the property.
As for the bank building, it is poised to change hands.
"We have the bank building under contract to a confidential buyer," said Stuart Coleman of CC&T Real Estate, a local partner in the development. "To prepare for closing we are demolishing the old drive through, which sits in the footprint of what will be future retail and office buildings as part of the overall development."
He said the former bank "will have a use that compliments the overall hotel development."
Coleman would not comment, but the speculation is that the building will become home to a new restaurant launched by one of Charleston's prominent chefs. One name that's been dropped: Mike Lata of FIG fame. He could not be reach for comment Friday.
Construction on the broader Midtown development is expected to begin in 2012.
It appears that seasoned executive Bob Siegel really can't give up working.
After at least two attempts at retiring from the retail industry, the local resident has taken the position of chairman of Harry Barker Inc., a Charleston-based seller of luxury pet items. Its eco-friendly products are sold in more than 14 countries.
Siegel most recently was chairman and CEO of apparel brand Lacoste USA, where he led a tenfold increase in sales and the expansion of company-owned stores to 87 from 10, including its King Street shop in Charleston Place. In 2009, he was coaxed out of retirement after his successor at Lacoste USA abruptly quit.
In other previous corporate lives, Siegel was chairman, president and CEO of shoe giant Stride Rite. Also, he was president of Levi's menswear division, where he developed and launched the Dockers brand. Siegel's other current board assignments include directorships at Hampshire Group and Prince Tennis.
"He will significantly contribute to our company's continued growth, as we fulfill our mission to become a major global brand," said Harry Barker founder and president Carol Perkins.
Can you guess what type of advertising by lawyers results in the most complaints to the S.C. Commission on Lawyer Conduct?
It may sound surprising, but television ads account for just 3 percent of complaints.
Most gripes about lawyers' advertising and marketing tactics -- nearly 6 out of 10 complaints -- involve websites, said Barbara Seymour, deputy disciplinary counsel to the S.C. Supreme Court.
Direct mail solicitations -- "Have you been denied disability payments?" -- account for the next big chunk of complaints, or about 15 percent in all.
Then the grousing tapers off. Magazine ads make up about 6 percent and phone book ads come in not far behind at 5 percent. Newspaper ads and personal solicitations are even at 4 percent.
Of all the complaints in South Carolina, 40 percent are filed anonymously, Seymour said during an ethics presentation sponsored by the Legal Marketing Association last week in Charleston.
"Those are all from other lawyers," she said.
Wells Fargo knows how many of its customers in South Carolina and Florida received portions of other customers' bank statements in the mail this month. But it has no plans to disclose that number.
'We've reached out to those customers on an individual basis, and that's the approach we've chosen to take," said spokesman Josh Dunn.
Dunn would only say that "a very small percentage" of the 487,000 households in South Carolina with some sort of relationship with Wells Fargo were affected.
Dunn did say the single malfunctioning printer in Charlotte that put different customers' names, account numbers, transactions, and in some cases, Social Security numbers on opposite sides of statement sheets is still "offline" as the San Francisco-based bank investigates the matter.
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