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Charleston International Airport is the state's busiest terminal. A record 4.4 million passengers are expected to fly in and out of the region this year, landing the airport in a different FAA category. File/Staff

South Carolina's busiest airport may soon soar to a new level.

With the number of passengers coming and going expected to pass the 4 million threshold this year, Charleston International should earn a "medium hub" classification from the Federal Aviation Administration, according to Paul Campbell, CEO of Charleston County Aviation Authority, which oversees the airport.

The change won't mean much to the flying public, but the higher FAA designation could make the airport eligible for a high level of federal funding, Campbell said.

Last year, CHS fell just short of cracking the 4-million-passenger threshold, with 3.98 million ticket holders arriving and departing.

This year, the final tally is expected to come in at around 4.4 million. Through May, passenger levels were up 8.2 percent over last year during the same period.

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The Read Brothers building is a landmark at King and Spring streets in downtown Charleston. Matthew Fortner/Staff

Set for sale

A prominent but fragile downtown Charleston building is on the market, and its owner is positioning the property for its next use.

Thomas L. Read, owner of the century-plus Read Brothers structure at King and Spring streets, last week transferred the corner property from his personal ownership into an affiliate called King and Spring Streets LLC. The move is to lessen the income tax burden on the owner in the event of a sale. The structure is being marketed only as "available," meaning it could be leased or sold. 

The longtime fabric and stereo shop at 591-593 King St. closed last year after a city-hired engineer found the three-story building needed emergency repairs on a support column at King and Spring "to reduce the risk of sudden catastrophic failure."

Several bricks had fallen off the facade early last year, the result of the corner being struck by a construction vehicle in 2015, according to Read. The building had not been repaired.

The city paid NBM Construction $89,000 to secure the exterior of the corner building at 593 King, according to Edye Graves, the city’s chief building official. That work was finished earlier this year.

The city also contracted with structural engineer Craig Bennett to examine the condition of Read Brothers’ two smaller buildings just south of the striking red-brick structure on the corner. In particular, the city would like to see the preservation of the white, wood-frame building at 589 King, Graves said.

Once Bennett finishes his report on their condition, the city could consider further work.

Meanwhile, the city also has given Read Brothers a list of upgrades necessary before the buildings can be reoccupied. Graves said she is not aware of what progress, if any, has been made.

Read referred questions to the PrimeSouth Group, which is handling the marketing of the property. Patrick Price of PrimeSouth said the real estate developer is helping prepare the property for future use. 

Trident Tech Aeronautics Center

Officials with Turner Construction and Trident Technical College sign the final steel beam for a new aeronautics training center under construction in North Charleston. Left to right: Rick Davis, senior project manager, Turner Construction; Eric Hamilton, facilities management director, Trident Tech; Jeff Owens, construction operations manger, Turner Construction; Mary Thornley, president, Trident Tech; and Scott Poelker, vice president for finance and administration, Trident Tech. Provided/Trident Technical College

Topped out

A construction industry ritual marked the latest sign of progress for the long-planned South Carolina Aeronautical Training Center 

Trident Technical College and Turner Construction Co. last week hoisted into place the last steel beam for the building that's under construction at the school's main North Charleston campus. As part of the traditional "topping-out ceremony," college and construction officials signed the support structure.

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Announced two years ago, the 218,105-square-foot training center will prepare students for jobs in the state's expanding aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries. It will include two aircraft hangars, 22 classrooms and 31 labs. 

Academic programs leading to associate degrees and certificates will be offered at Trident Tech, along with continuing education courses and specialized training for manufacturers in the region. It will open in 2019.

For more information about the facility and to see construction updates, go to bit.ly/SCAeroCenter.

BoomTown

LS3P's long list of commercial projects includes the Charleston headquarters for the real estate technology firm BoomTown. Provided/LS3P

Up the ladder

A Charleston-based architecture, design and planning business is climbing the ladder in the industry’s pecking order.

LS3P Associates Ltd. vaulted eight places to land at No. 36 among the nation’s top 300 firms based on 2017 revenue figures. In the architecture-only category, the King Street shop was ranked No. 15, up from No. 21 a year ago.

The annual list is compiled by the trade magazine Architectural Record.

LS3P was founded 55 years ago in downtown Charleston. It's since opened seven other offices in the Carolinas and Georgia and it handles a variety of commercial building projects. Notable deals include a 25-story 300 South Tryon office tower in Charlotte and the BoomTown headquarters at the Pacific Box and Crate development on the upper peninsula.

CEO Thom Penney said he is upbeat about LS3P’s future given that most major markets across its Southeast footprint are in an expansion mode.

“Changing demographics are spurring growth across our practice areas, from corporate commercial development to higher education to health care,” he added.