The Charleston region's apartment front is continuing to add more bricks and mortar.

One of the latest pieces of news is Cornerstone Apartment Homes, a much-anticipated development that opened in the former Kerrisons department store building in the heart of downtown Charleston's shopping district

The 42-unit rental project returns life to the upper floors of the four-story building at King and Hasell streets. The upper levels have been long vacant due to damage from Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and a fire that followed weeks later.

The development, which is spread over three adjoining buildings, is the latest addition to the high-end multifamily market in downtown Charleston. Monthly rents range from $1,500 for a studio to $3,500 for a two-bedroom corner apartment with a harbor view.

The apartment designs retain many historic details of the building, which was constructed before the Civil War, including original maple flooring, steel windows and exposed brick and beams.

"We've been talking about doing something like this for 40 years, and then Hugo hit and that changed the whole dynamics of everything in our lives," said co-owner Gene Poulnot Carpenter. "It feels good to bring the building back to life. ... It feels good to be an employer in Charleston again and the fact that we are bringing people back to live in downtown Charleston."

Cornerstone came to fruition with the help of a bank loan for an unspecified amount secured by Carpenter, along with sister Dale C. Poulnot and brother David Poulnot.

The siblings are fourth-generation owners in the historic building with their father, Edwin H. Poulnot III, who had been president of Kerrisons until it closed in the late 1990s.

Carpenter added that leasing will also include a 1,000-square-foot retail space on the ground floor and some office space.

Local businesses designed and built the project: Neil Stevenson and Associates was the architect and Trident Construction was the general contractor.



In other multifamily news, Summerville Station at 1660 Trolley Road is scheduled to officially open March 29. PRG Real Estate Management purchased the former Churchill Common Apartments last year and shelled out about $2 million for renovating the interior and exterior sections.

This is the first Charleston-area property for PRG. The Philadelphia-based firm has dozens of apartment communities along the East Coast, according to its website.

The firm's portfolio includes rental complexes in the Upstate. Company officials say they plan add more properties in the Charleston region.

Reach Tyrone Richardson at 937-5550.