Berkeley village's community endowment marks anniversary

A funding program for improvements on Daniel Island and neighboring places has doled out more than $1.4 million to charitable groups in the past 15 years.

Daniel Island Community Fund was set up in 1999 to use transfer fees on property resale transactions to build an endowment that helps pay for community projects. Groups in need on the island and in neighboring burgs have received funds. Last year, it distributed more than $400,000 for programs serving the Charleston area including to 25 charities.

Organizers are marking the fund's 15th anniversary.

"Daniel Island has established a strong tradition of giving back to its neighbors in the region in far-reaching ways, and we are so proud to be able to make a significant impact and help give back to our community," says Jane Baker, vice president of community services for the Daniel Island Property Owners' Association and the administrator of the private organization.

She says the fund "has essentially become a grant-making organization that helps the Lowcountry's outstanding nonprofit organizations administer their programs in our communities."

According to backers, the Daniel Island endowment stands out from most transfer-fee based community funds nationwide.

About 40 percent of master planned communities in the U.S. have a community program fund and typically earmark the money to supplement property owners' association budgets and reserves. Just 2 percent use the fund for charitable projects, according to a study conducted by the Community Associations Institute.

The Daniel Island Community Fund says it directs most of its funds, including 68 percent in 2013, to help area nonprofit organizations provide services and programs for those in need.

The 4,000-acre island within the city of Charleston features traditional neighborhoods, award-winning golf and tennis facilities and a broad collection of amenities in a self-contained town setting, it says.

According to supporters, the fund's allocations have gone toward education, human services, housing rehabilitation and emergency repair, nature, the environment, heritage and culture, municipal park improvements and community-led projects on Daniel Island and the "surrounding and often underserved" Cainhoy, Huger and Wando communities.

Grants to nonprofit organizations in 2013 totaled more than $364,000. Charities included Operation Home, Junior Achievement, Windward Farms, Young Life, Cainhoy School, Daniel Island School, East Cooper Community Outreach, the Center for Heirs Property Preservation, Charleston Police Fund, East Cooper Meals on Wheels, East Cooper Land Trust, the Gullah Society and Golfers for Education.

The fund's resident-led board each quarter reviews grant requests and makes decisions on them.

"This is a true community-wide outreach effort," Baker says. It involves "property owners, many island businesses and nonprofit organizations coming together" to develop resources and programs to serve community needs.

So far in 2014, the fund has helped monetarily with seven emergency home repair projects for the needy through Operation Home; assisted the Children's Museum of the Lowcountry, contributed to transportation services for Cainhoy community families in need (in partnership with the Palmetto Project's "Families Helping Families") and supported Daniel Island Historical Society programs.

Since a smaller portion of the budget goes to projects on Daniel Island, the fund carefully selects the enhancements to undertake.

They're comprised in 2014 of planning and constructing a Memorial Garden in downtown Daniel Island to honor residents who have died - a project being undertaken with Daniel Island Rotary and the city of Charleston; and the creation of a labyrinth in the middle of town.

"We have just two community enhancement initiatives planned for 2014," Baker says. "The rest of our budget for the year will be distributed in the form of grants to nonprofit organizations."

Nonprofits serving greater Daniel Island and Cainhoy, Wando and Huger can submit grant requests to the Daniel Island Community Fund. For more information, go to or visit

Avison Young eyes positive trends in local retail sector

A host of store outlets and mixed use developments are breaking ground or changing hands in the Lowcountry, one commercial firm's local office says.

The Charleston retail market "continues to be steady," Avison Young notes in a report on first quarter commercial real estate figures and more recent trends.

In its findings, the company highlighted a half-dozen or so major moves involving everything from department stores to car dealerships. Among them:

- The Beach Co. sold The Boulevard mixed-use development in Mount Pleasant for $66.5 million to TR Development Corp. not long after the project finished.

- DDR Corp. in February sold North Charleston Center to Monarch Investments Group LLC for $16 million. The Rivers Avenue outlet boasts Northern Tool + Equipment, Dollar Tree, DD's Discounts and Petco as tenants.

- This winter, Kmart closed its 115,000-square-foot outlet in a Mount Pleasant shopping center and said in February that it will shutter the West Ashley store location on Savannah Highway. Owners of the east of the Cooper shopping plaza plan to renovate it. Meanwhile, Hendrick Automotive purchased the West Ashley property for $10 million.

- Corner at Wescott Shopping Center in North Charleston saw a 53,000-square-foot Harris Teeter grocery store, 25,000-square-foot Marshalls clothing outlet and 6,000-square-foot Rack Room shoes open in the past few months.

- Bits of Lace set up a second lingerie store, on Coleman Boulevard in Mount Pleasant to complement its long-time King Street spot.

- Charleston-based Escapada Living, which sells resort and beachwear worldwide, opened a signature store in the Belle Hall Shopping Center in Mount Pleasant, according to Avison Young.

Bingham signs on with Summerville area agency

A former Navy veteran who was stationed in Charleston has anchored with Prudential Southern Coast Real Estate.

Michelle Bingham joined the office as a real estate agent.

She was an "experienced" human resources coordinator in the hotel industry, according to the brokerage. Bingham also holds a degree in business management.

Recently, she earned Prudential's eCertified 2.0 Designation. That "ensures her clients also receive Internet marketing exposure through social media, blogging, and networking," the company says.

Bingham has gained respect in the Charleston area, "not only for her unparalleled professional track record and high ethical standards but for being an honest, hardworking military veteran who does everything in her power to ensure her clients' success," according to Prudential Southern Coast.

"I fell in love with the Charleston area while stationed here with the Navy and love calling Charleston my home," Bingham says.

Linda Collins, broker in charge of Prudential Southern Coast Real Estate, says, "With Michelle's understanding the needs of today's buyers and sellers, we are excited to have her become an important team member."

Bingham enjoys working with both sellers and buyers and "is committed to making their real estate experience a smooth, comfortable process," the agency notes.

For more, call her at 843-300-8042 or email

Trio joins Keller Williams

The local headquarters for a national real estate firm signed on three brokers in the past few months.

The agents, who are with Keller Williams Mount Pleasant/Charleston, include Cathy Lumsden, of metro Atlanta; College of Charleston graduate Rachel Barkley; and former Nashville resident Amy Flanagan.

Lumsden came to the local Keller Williams office after six years in Georgia's capital and largest city as a Realtor.

In her free time, she enjoys Charleston's coastal outdoor life, the agency notes. Also as a longtime horse owner, she understands "the challenge and necessity of locating that perfect equine property," according to the company.

As a real estate investor and former property manager, Lumsden relies on her expertise "to maximize clients' residential investment portfolios" or assist them in purchasing their first home.

Barkley, meanwhile, stands out as a newer Keller Williams agent. She graduated from the College of Charleston in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in Historic Preservation and Community Planning, Classics and Creative Writing.

While in college, she rowed with the crew team along the Cooper River, climbed to the top of Morris Island Lighthouse with Save the Light Inc., explored basements in Charleston's oldest buildings and documented excavations at St. Thomas and St. Denis chapel in Berkeley County. Between classes, she jotted down ideas for short stories and reviewed for Latin tests, the agency says.

Since graduation, she's interned with Charleston Magazine and remained as a server at Coast Bar and Grill restaurant downtown.

Now she's tackling Charleston's real estate world, "using her knowledge of historic buildings, her expertise in the hospitality industry and her constant sparks of creativity," the company notes.

According to the agency, Barkley recently affiliated with Keller Williams Global Property Specialists to allow her to market properties worldwide.

Having lived in the Charleston area 23 years, Flanagan joined Keller Williams Mount Pleasant/Charleston earlier in 2014 "because of the great culture and the focus on excellence concerning customers, clients, vendors and community," the company points out.

She moved from Nashville to Mount Pleasant in 1991, buying her first home in the Old Village in 1992. "She fell in love with the low country and all the charm and vistas around every corner," Keller Williams says.

Flanagan moved to the Charleston region with the Neill Corp. Today, she has more than 25 years of experience in business development and outside sales.

A member of St Andrews Church and Rotary International on Daniel Island, Flanagan enjoys riding horses, paddle boarding and ocean swimming.

Houston builder with operations in Charleston ranks in top 20 for revenue

David Weekley Homes, which frames houses from East Cooper to Charleston, ranks 16th on a trade magazine's 2014 Housing Giants list.

Professional Builder published the information earlier this month. According to Texas-based David Weekley Homes, the report ranks the nation's 293 largest builders by housing revenue and closings in 2013.

At the same time, the company topped 1,000 industry awards. Among the most recent were for its model homes in the Orlando Parade of Homes, and for model and custom homes via the Dallas Builders Association.

David Weekley Homes earlier this year received the Best in Region award for 2013 in Hilton Head from the National Association of Home Builders. It was part of the association's Best in America Living awards.

Elsewhere, David Weekley Homes was listed as the largest privately-held home builder in the U.S. and 18th overall as compiled by Builder Magazine's Builder 100 list. The list identifies the top home builders by "annual closings, gross revenue and rate of change year over year."

Professional Builder has been compiling its list of Housing Giants for more than 40 years, according to David Weekley Homes.

Formed in 1976, the company operates in 18 cities nationwide including metro Charleston. Since inception, David Weekley Homes has closed more than 75,000 homes. For more information, visit the company's website at

New phase set to open at Dominion Village townhomes

Buyers looking for waterside locales at a more moderate cost should peruse a two-level community on "beautiful" Goose Creek in Hanahan.

That's the pitch for Dominion Village Town Homes. A new sector of the property was finished in May.

Says Carolina One New Homes, "Have you always dreamed of being able to live on beautiful deep water with boating, kayaking and paddle boarding out your back deck, but just couldn't afford the price?"

Carolina One New Homes handles sales at the Berkeley County neighborhood.

According to marketers, Dominion Village Town Homes showcases two and three bedroom townhomes starting at $289,900. The community resembles "the architecture of a charming seaside village, with water access to Charleston Harbor and incredible marsh views from your own private deck," the company says.

The "fee simple" townhomes are 2,000 square feet or more and are built of "the highest quality construction," Carolina One New Homes says.

Amenities consist of a boat ramp, large covered pier head and 200 feet of boat dockage. Also available are large fishing ponds and a scenic walking trail, according to the sales and marketing company.

Standard property features at DominionVillage Town Homes include oak hardwood floors in the living room, dining room, kitchen, master bedroom and hallway.

"Also standard is granite in kitchen and baths, stainless steel appliances with gas range, tank-less gas hot water heater, nine foot smooth ceilings and a two-car garage," the company says. All the units are built elevator ready, it notes.

Dominion Village Town Homes touts itself as convenient to Charleston International Airport, Boeing, Spawar and historic downtown Charleston.

For additional information, contact Jimmy Brown at 843-732-3568 or via email at

Carolina One New Homes, a division of Carolina One Real Estate, dates to 1994. It represents more than 30 new homes communities. To learn more, go to