Bridge gateway boom to wrap up with SpringHill Suites, offices

This rendering by Overcash Demitt Architecture shows the SpringHill Suites hotel that's expected to open as part of the Gateway development in Mount Pleasant within a year.

The SpringHill Suites that's set to spring up on Magrath Darby Boulevard may be the bookend of the hotel boom at the foot of the Arthur Ravenel Bridge in Mount Pleasant.

The seven-story, 110-room hotel is part of the Gateway project that will include a 60,000-square-foot office building on a 5-acre plot between the bridge and Patriots Point.

Mayor Linda Page said the project was one of the last in the area to start construction, and there is no available land left that would be large enough to support another major development in the "gateway" to the fast-growing town.

Commercial developers have been snatching up properties in the 1-mile radius around Magrath Darby, Wingo Way and U.S. Highway 17 for the past few years, mostly for new hotel projects. The boom of Charleston's hospitality industry has created a surge of demand for lodging close to downtown Charleston and other tourism destinations, such as Patriots Point and the beaches.

Landmark Enterprises, one of the developers of the Gateway project, has owned the Magrath Darby property for several decades. Although the company mostly specializes in office buildings, it made sense to include a hotel on the project, said Jason Ward, vice president of development.

"We know that there's an office demand in the market right now, but we know the depth of that demand is not enough to where we could put offices on the entire site," Ward said, adding that a lodging was "the right play given the hospitality market here."

For the hotel portion of the project, Landmark partnered with Springbridge Development, a hospitality development firm based in Florence that had been searching for opportunities to expand into Charleston. A subsidiary of Springbridge, Raines Hospitality, will manage the Marriott-branded hotel.

Grey Raines, president of Springbridge, said the company has plans to develop and manage two more hotels in the Charleston area in the next few years, though he did not specify where.

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"Charleston is one of the hottest markets in the country, and being from South Carolina and spending a lot of time in Charleston, it has always been on our radar as far as growth opportunities and branding opportunities with Marriott," he said.

Both components of the Gateway project will cost about $38 million, according to Ward. The hotel and all the infrastructure for the office building are expected to be completed within 12 months, he added, so development of the office building can be expedited.

Page said the Gateway project is important for Mount Pleasant for two reasons.

"What stands out the most is that we are finally getting some very visible class-A office space," she said, adding that the addition of hotels near the Ravenel Bridge helps Mount Pleasant gain "a competitive edge" in the tourism industry.

Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail