A handful of notable Charleston office relocations are in the works.
After a long search, publishing software firm BiblioLabs is moving from its harbor-front suite one pier away from the S.C. Aquarium to 100 Calhoun St.
The new space is about 4,000 square feet, and the move will be done by the end of the month, people familiar with the relocation said.
Meanwhile, the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, which is getting uprooted because Boeing bought the office complex the group occupies at 5300 International Blvd. in North Charleston, has settled on a new home just a couple of exits down Interstate 526.
The final details are being negotiated, spokeswoman Claire Gibbons said, but the alliance plans to move to the fourth floor of the Ashley Center in the Faber Place Executive Park off Leeds Avenue later this year. It will join a tenant list that includes IBM, Northrup Grumman and Booz Allen Hamilton.
The group, which markets the region to employers looking to expand, will take between 8,000 and 10,000 square feet at 4401 Belle Oaks Drive, she said.
“We wouldn’t choose to move, but we’re happy that Boeing is successful, and we’re happy to stay in the area,” Gibbons said.
At least one other organization being displaced along with the alliance also has a deal for new digs. The S.C. Research Authority, which sold 5300 International to Boeing for $23.35 million late last year, inked a contract this month to buy 10 acres with an option to purchase another 7 acres at Nexton, which is taking shape at Interstate 26 and U.S. Highway 17A in Summerville.
The new building will house SCRA’s Charleston operations and the majority of its 185 employees. Construction is expected to begin by end of the year, with a move-in date scheduled for October 2014.
Nexton is a mixed-use community being built by MeadWestvaco’s MWV Community Development and Land Management unit.
“While we carefully evaluated several properties throughout the region, Nexton was best-suited for our needs, location and space requirements,” said SCRA CEO Bill Mahoney.
At least two other tenants at 5300 International are hunting for new homes: the Lowcountry Graduate Center and the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors.
Boeing on the brain
It seems April is Boeing-related hearings month.
The kickoff was a National Transportation Safety Board forum April 11-12 focusing on lithium ion batteries, the kind that provide power on Boeing’s troubled 787 Dreamliner.
Then last week, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing on the Federal Aviation Administration that included that agency’s certification of the 787.
And beginning Tuesday, the NTSB will host a two-day investigative hearing into the Jan. 7 battery fire that led to the grounding of the high-tech jet.
The hearing will focus on issues related to the design, testing and certification of its battery system.
This month ends on a purely Boeing South Carolina note. The company and Charleston International officials will get together with the FAA on April 30 in Atlanta to discuss the company proposed purchase of 320 acres the airport owns.
The deal requires the agency’s blessing.
The main agenda item will be the real estate appraisals. Boeing’s came in at $13, and the airport’s was $12 million. The deal called for them to split the difference, so the proposed sale price is $12.5 million.
A follow-up meeting with the FAA will be held later in Washington, D.C.
It’ll be No. 3 for BNC.
High Point, N.C.-based BNC Bancorp is eyeing the peninsula for its third Charleston-area branch less than a year after entering the local market.
The owner of BNC Bank (short for the Bank of North Carolina) recently applied to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for approval to establish an office at 291 East Bay St. between Wentworth and Society streets.
An opening date has not been set, but the 11-year-old expansion-minded bank plans to have the branch up and operating “soon,” according to a print advertisement it’s been running.
BNC is a relative newcomer to the market. It had been looking to fill the gap between its existing operations in the Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach markets last year when an opportunity arose: the June failure of Charleston-based Carolina Federal Savings Bank.
BNC struck a deal with the FDIC to take over the tiny thrift and its offices on U.S. Highway 17 in Mount Pleasant and Carriage Lane in West Ashley.
It isn’t the only lender looking to expand to the peninsula. The owner of Mount Pleasant-based Southcoast Community Bank recently said it has picked up a downtown Charleston property via foreclosure and has decided to keep it “for future branch expansion.”
In fact, it would be neighbors with BNC. The Southcoast branch would be in the former Photo Express building at 299 East Bay, if and when it opens.
Carnes Crossroads is a Goose Creek planned community so new that it doesn’t have any residents. But that isn’t stopping the development from hosting its first street party later this month, marking the official opening of the mixed-use development on a 2,300-acre site at U.S. Highway 176 and Highway 17A.
Set for noon-5 p.m. April 28, the event will include food and entertainment before the backdrop of the first completed homes in the community.
Carnes, which is backed by the developer of Daniel Island, has completed the first five homes, including three furnished models on the stretch called “model row.”
Plans call for as many as 5,000 residences and several million square feet of commercial space to set up shop over a two-decade span.
Some East Cooper retail workers could be in for a raise.
Hobby Lobby, which opened its first Charleston-area store last fall in Mount Pleasant, announced last week that it’s raising its bottom-level wage for full-time employees to $14 per hour.
The company said Monday it also is raising the pay of part-time workers to $9.50 per hour. In all, 17,726 workers will receive raises, the Associated Press reported.
Hobby Lobby says the raise for full-time workers will be $1 per hour, and 50 cents per hour for part-time workers.
The Oklahoma City-based company has more than 500 stores in 45 states.
The local Hobby Lobby is part of Six Mile Marketplace off U.S. Highway 17, south of the Long Point Road intersection. It is the chain’s first store in the Charleston region and its 12th in South Carolina.
It carries more than 65,000 craft and home decor products.
The company said last year that it planned to hire 35 to 50 employees