Another restaurant offering south of the border fare is heading south of Calhoun Street in the city's historic district.
The popular fast-casual chain Chipotle Mexican Grill has submitted plans for a location near the southeast corner of Calhoun.
If approved, the restaurant would occupy a 3,000 square-foot space along the King Street side of the building, which has been mostly vacant since Millennium Music moved out in 2008. Construction should begin in the summer, said Chipotle spokeswoman Danielle Winslow.
"We look forward to expanding our presence in Charleston, and this new location is an opportunity for us to serve more people our menu of fresh food made with better ingredients from more sustainable sources," she said in statement.
Chipotle is the first business to submit plans for the building since the last tenant moved out. The property is being developed by Werner Real Estate Holdings.
The firm has submitted five concepts for city approval over the last six years for the roughly 30,000-square-foot space across from Marion Square, but most were rejected. An early proposal showed a 52-unit condominium tower atop retail shops, but that was scrapped after the recession that started in 2007 sent the residential real estate market tumbling.
After several trips to the drawing board, the developer has decided to split the corner building into four spaces with separate tenants. Renovation work should begin next week, said Trevor Johrendt of Werner Real Estate.
"The important thing for us was to do what's best for the city," Johrendt said Tuesday. "Just sitting there vacant was not doing anyone any good. We're glad to finally get some activity up there on that corner again."
In addition to Chipotle, the building will house a two-story restaurant on the second and third floors along the Calhoun side. Details about the two other tenants were not yet available.
For Denver-based Chipotle, the downtown site will be its second restaurant in the area. The chain made its local debut in North Charleston in May 2012. Around that time, officials with the company said they were eyeing Mount Pleasant but no site has been announced.
The competition for fast Tex-Mex cuisine could ramp up once Chipotle expands to the peninsula's tourist district. Moe's Southwest Grill is right across King Street, and other potential rivals, such as Yo Burrito and La Hacienda, are nearby.
Like Moe's, Chipotle offers a build-your-own buffet of burritos and salads.
The chain has been expanding at a rapid pace. Chipotle opened 113 new restaurants this year through September, bringing its total to about 1,539, according to the company's website.
Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail
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