As kids, Gene Poulnot Carpenter and David Poulnot used to chase each other on a long hallway at Kerrison's Department Store.

She recalled the child's play this week while showing what's now the third floor at Cornerstone Apartment Homes. The place where the siblings scampered also happens to be where the venerable outlet's King Street and Hasell Street buildings attach.

The downtown Kerrison's, which relocated to King below Hasell streets in 1919, effectively closed after Hurricane Hugo damaged the building 25 years ago this fall. The Poulnot family repaired the damage, retained property ownership and leases out the ground floor to retailers, including now to Anthropologie clothing store fronting King Street.

For quite some time, the family studied what to do with vacant upper floors, envisioning an upper crust residential development.

In January, those ideas turned into reality. They unveiled Cornerstone Apartment Homes, situated on the second through fourth floors of the 174-year-old building at 92 Hasell. Another first level retail space remains available.

Charleston natives Carpenter, sister Dale Poulnot and brother David Poulnot teamed up to develop, lease and manage the 43 high-end apartment homes. Original hardwood floors mark the units' primary living areas, and in some units, extend to most all the rooms, Dale Poulnot says. Residences tout up to 15 foot ceilings, two elevators, top-notch kitchen appliances and expanded windows that produce breathtaking scenes of downtown Charleston.

"There's some unbelievable views," Carpenter says.

The apartment homes - ranging from 630 to 1,100 square feet - count seven studio, 20 one-bedroom and 16 two-bedroom rentals. They're priced from $1,670 to $3,500 a month.

The model, with one bedroom and one bath, extends 810 square feet and will be priced at $2,490 a month when it's available for rent May 1. "It's a cool bachelor pad," David Poulnot says.

He heads up the development efforts while Dale Poulnot and Carpenter, both real estate agents, handle leasing and marketing via newly formed Cornerstone at King Realty. The leasing began in the past month or so.

Fourth level apartments are available for rent now, and third floor rentals by early to mid March. Another 18 units including on the second floor will be ready by April.

According to a flier, apartment homes feature:

- Exposed brick.

- Granite countertops and brand-new kitchen appliances.

- Preferred rate for tenant parking.

- Secured entry.

- Sprinklers throughout for safety.

"Each unit has a washer and dryer, which is unusual for downtown," Dale Poulnot says. Pets are allowed on a negotiated basis and with no more than one per apartment home.

Each apartment home differs, so there's no specific model type. A listing sheet provides descriptions for each rental unit, such as "views of King Street and church steeple," "excellent floor plan and large windows" and "French windows with views of St. Mary's Church."

Potential tenants include young professionals, wealthy patrons eying an in-town pied-a-terre and empty nesters and retirees who want to downsize but also hold onto the posh lifestyle to which they're accustomed.

The apartment homes will take up space in what's been a downtown icon for decades.

Kerrison's dry goods dates to the late 19th century. The Poulnot family purchased the business around 1890 and moved it to the King and Hasell location 95 years ago.

To fashion the plush new rentals, the family brought in leading local professionals such as Neil Stevenson Architects, Trident Construction Co. as builder-remodeler and Jane Jilich interior designer.

"I tell everybody that this is a Charleston product," Carpenter says.

The apartment homes are accessed from the roof of the Wentworth Street parking garage. Traveling south, take Meeting Street crossing Calhoun Street. Proceed four blocks and steer right on Wentworth. Turn left into the garage. On the top is the entrance to Cornerstone Apartment Homes.

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Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or