“I’m accustomed to these renovations,” said Mark Regalbuto of Renew Urban Charleston. “The property was in structurally bad shape so every single brick in the building had to be repointed. Even the line base putty had turned to sand and all had to be hand scraped and put back together.”
And, that’s just the bricks.
Regalbuto, a renowned Charleston contractor and builder has overseen such projects as The Ordinary, historic commercial buildings downtown and several private lofts and residences across the Lowcountry. He and Renew Urban Charleston also partnered with “This Old House” in 2018 to document a renovation in the Ansonborough neighborhood.
Regalbuto stepped into another major renovation when he undertook the project at 29 Broad, a 1790s commercial and residential space. The entire renovation took over two years to complete.
“I had clients from Hilton Head who wanted to do a project downtown,” said Charles Constant, Founder and Broker-in-Charge of Robertson Howland Properties. “They were investors who wanted to restore a historic property and we searched for two years and found this one. They, like many of our clients, like to live in the city or make the city a better place by bringing these properties back to their original glory.”
Historic, income-producing properties and ones that have been empty for more than five years receive lucrative state and federal tax incentives.
Constant and Regalbuto, friends and colleagues, collaborated with the buyers to ensure that the nearly 7,000 square feet of dilapidated, manipulated and disjointed spaces were brought back to the way it “lived” in the late 1700s.
“There’s nothing that isn’t hand-shaped or hand done. There’s nothing stock – everything was painstakingly chosen, as custom as you can get it,” Constant said. “I don’t think there is another property like this in Charleston, fully furnished with this level of detail and amazing finishes.”
The reno team also included local craftspeople, artisans and archivists throughout the renovation. Some of theindividuals that worked on bringing 29 Broad back were professors and interns of the American College of Building Arts. Ensuring that the property was true to its original form took hours of finding photos that could relay the story of what it once was.
One of those old photos revealed that two metal columns found in the rubble and behind a wall was once part of the building’s front and the pillars now stand where they once were long ago.
According to Constant the property consisted of the main facade of the building, a little “hyphen” two floors and a dry storage shed in the back. There were vines growing through the windows, holes in the floor and it had been unoccupied for years. The back unit hadn’t been touched in over 70 years, he said.
“Traditionally there was always a business on the first floor and then residences above,” Constant said. “That’s the way it was downtown on King and Broad Streets.”
That’s precisely how the property has been reconfigured. Constant’s office, a sleek and modern space you enter from Broad, has tall windows, plaster walls and original exposed brick. The investors wanted a street-front business and two condos that could be rented.
“From celebrities to high net worth individuals, these properties speak to their needs,” Constant said. “There are a number of buyers who come to Charleston and want to take on a project South of Broad or anywhere on the peninsula. They want the same fit and finishes they’re putting into their main or secondary homes. The rooftop deck off the larger home has 360-degree views – you can see every steeple, The Battery, Fort Sumter.”
The two condos, one a three-story, three bedroom, four bath home with 2,600 square feet and the other, a two bedroom, two-and-a-half bath home has 1,500 square feet. Currently, the rental prices are $9,500 and $9,000 a month, respectively. To get to each, you enter through a private, electronic gate off Broad. Walk down a black and whitecheckered alley and enter into, what is nothing short of -- magnificent.
The smaller condo is at the end of the hallway. On the main level, you step into a living area and a kitchen that has exposed brick walls, large windows and a double doorway that leads out to a spacious garden area with brick privacy fence, fountain and plenty of space for entertaining. The kitchen has Sub-Zero appliances and a large wine refrigerator. Off of that is a wet bar and off that an area with a European style sink for potting or holding beverages. Wood beams, chandeliers and dramatic lighting decorate the soaring ceilings. An iron and wood staircase lead up to the bedrooms and baths. The master bedroom has original brick and bright green plaster walls that translate as European, transitional design with a private porch for morning coffee. The master bath has a large glassed steam shower, brick walls and stunning marble double vanity. Walk out to a private porch and enjoy the view. The second bedroom has a murphy bed and its bath has brick and marble tile. Brass finishes are reflected in the scones, doorknobs and sinks.
The larger home is to the right off the alley. Entering the solid wood door and walking up the stairs gives you a preview of what’s coming. The living and dining areas are spacious and flow into one another with large windows on either side. The three-level home feels palatial – from the exquisite details to the third-floor master that has a bath that’s breathtaking. Teal-colored plaster walls, a black and white marble floor, free standing egg-shaped tub facing a window, separate vanities and large shower are just a few elements that create the wow factor.
Need a glass a wine before retiring? There’s a bar area in the hallway at the top of the master bedroom staircase.
The pièce de résistance? The rooftop with a glass ceiling that slides across for access from the home – with a push of a button.
“The detailing on the balustrade was matched to the original,” Regalbuto said. “We worked with BAR to incorporate the historic balustrade into a safety rail all around the whole of the rooftop.”
And, the perfect place to hold one of those all-out Charleston gatherings.
What both have are very special touches – large gas fireplaces, brass light switches from England, antique hardwood floors, artwork, paintings, hand-rubbed cabinets, armoires, Charleston-style gas lanterns outside and fully stocked everything. From the linens to the artfully designed spaces within, each piece has been carefully selected to make a lucky someone feels right at home.
Robertson Howland Properties
Contact Brigitte Surette at email@example.com.