A swath of dilapidated historic homes by the King Street off-ramp in Charleston’s Westside neighborhood are being restored as part of a development of single-and multi-family homes.
Charleston developer George Reavis, of Reavis-Comer Development, recently tapped a team of local architects to help sculpt more than a dozen new homes in the city’s North Central neighborhood.
The two housing projects on Charleston’s peninsula are merely a snapshot of the sea of new home projects in various stages of development across the Lowcountry, ignited by a rebounding economy, thinning supply of residential real estate and growing home prices.
Gateway to Charleston, book-ended by the U.S. Highway 17 off-ramp and King Street, is a project between Charleston-based Ecovest Development and the city’s housing authority.
The 21-unit construction of affordable and market-rate housing revives stalled plans to recondition nearly an acre of land isolated by highway development and once slotted for development as part of the Ravenel Bridge project.
About five years ago, the state Department of Transportation transferred ownership of the property to the city with the condition to redevelop the property, which sits near Fishburne and St. Philip streets. Several of the city’s plans were eventually nixed, leaving the four historic homes on the property blighted and housing squatters, officials said.
In 2011, city officials tapped Jeffrey Roberts and Jack Brickman of Ecovest to restore the properties, which includes the Katherine Seigenwald House. The three-story home at 74 Fishburne St. was built around 1920 and protected by federal and state preservation oversight.
The redevelopment project, which includes a $1.9 million investment from the city, transforms the Seigenwald House into a six-unit, multi-family dwelling and three other two-story homes into duplexes. Those properties are owned by the city’s housing authority and will be rented as affordable housing, according to Mayor Joe Riley.
“This is a really good project,” Riley said. “We worked to save the houses and that neighborhood, and now it will.”
The combined portions of Fishburne and St. Philip streets are being renamed Engel Street in honor of Charleston’s living Holocaust survivor Joe Engel, Roberts said.
In addition, Ecovest paid the city $220,000 for a piece of the property to construct nine single-family cottages, which includes eight to be sold at market rate, according to Roberts.
He added that the market-priced homes have sold and closings should start about April 15. The 1,080- to 1,500-square-foot homes were listed from $250,000 to $300,000,
“We think these quick sales are a testimony to the neighborhood and Charleston,” Roberts said. “Selling all the homes immediately allowed me to build them all together.”
The entire project should be completed by July, Roberts said.
Such strong sales prompted developer Reavis to launch plans to build 14 homes on 0.8 acres of vacant property on Simons Street, between King and Rutledge Avenue.
Reavis described the project as having the “same spirit” as his firm’s other in-fill developments like Midtown of Charleston homes near St. Philip and Cannon streets.
Reavis described several Charleston neighborhoods as “very hot,” growing new construction demand.
“Everyone is slammed right now and they’re building homes as fast as they can,” Reavis said.
Reavis’ project, 58 Simons St., is being developed with the help of local architects Byers Design Group, Neil Stevenson Architects, Johnny Tucker and Heather Wilson.
The two-and three-story “urban modern” homes will range from 1,400 to 1,700 square feet and are tentatively priced between the upper $200,000s to low $300,000s, Reavis said.
Construction is planned to start within weeks and to be completed this year, he said.
Reach Tyrone Richardson at 843-937-5550 and follow him on Twitter @tyrichardsonPC.