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Charleston's historic Ansonborough Inn sold by longtime owner

Ansonborough Inn

Ansonborough Inn is located at East Bay and Hasell streets, just north of the Charleston City Market. Emily Williams/Staff

After more than two decades of continuous ownership, the Ansonborough Inn in downtown Charleston has been sold. 

The historic boutique property at Hasell and East Bay streets changed hands this week for $18.5 million, according to Charleston County property records. 

It was a longtime holding of locally based Lowcountry Hotels. 

The buyer, CHG Charleston Acquisitions LLC, is made up of Memphis-based Wright Investments and Continental Hospitality Group of Ohio. 

Scott Fennell, president at Lowcountry Hotels, said it was "bittersweet" to part with the property after so many years.

"We're excited about their vision," he said of the new owners.

Fennell also said the ownership change seemed like a "good opportunity" for the employees at the property. 

"We are very excited to be part of Charleston’s amazing hospitality heritage, and we are fortunate to have many friends in the community," said Larry Wright, CEO at Wright Investments. "We anticipate expanding in the city and are humbled to be stakeholders."

The inn shares its name with the neighborhood where it's located, which was named for George Anson, a captain in the British Navy who was charged with protecting Carolina's coastline from pirates and privateers.

As the story goes, Anson won the land that would later become the Ansonborough neighborhood from Thomas Gadsden in a game of cards. But, according to research Charleston County Public Library historian Nic Butler shared on his "Charleston Time Machine" podcast in January, there don't appear to be documents to back up that claim. 

Over the years, the Ansonborough Inn has become "synonymous to the area," Fennell said. 

The brick building that houses the Ansonborough Inn was originally built as a warehouse around 1901. It was first converted into condominiums, then recast as a boutique inn in 1987. The property has 45 guest rooms. Its rooftop terrace overlooks Charleston Harbor. 

It's one of about a dozen hotels in Charleston that's earned AAA's Four Diamond rating. 

The inn's location, across the street from the East Bay Harris Teeter supermarket, is a short walk from Liberty Square, the South Carolina Aquarium and the International African American Museum that will be opening in late 2022.

The inn was somewhat of an outlier in the Lowcountry Hotels portfolio. The company, which is based in North Charleston, owns and operates lodgings throughout the Charleston area that are affiliated with flags like DoubleTree and Holiday Inn Express.

In early 2020, the company opened a new dual-flagged Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites with convention space in Summerville. 

The Ansonborough Inn was the only lodging the firm had individually owned in downtown Charleston, Fennell said. 

The purchase is Wright Investments' first acquisition in the Holy City, but it isn't the company's first hotel holding in South Carolina. Its website lists a few Palmetto State properties, in Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach. 

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Reach Emily Williams at 843-607-0894. Follow her on Twitter @emilye_williams.

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