City celebrates new Hyatt hotels as ‘great achievement’ on Upper King $80M development opening Thursday anchors revitalization

Vision Scapes employee, Jason Tucker, of Atlanta edges along an island nestled within the Midtown site with two new Hyatt hotels. Matthew Fortner/Staff

Years in the making, two Hyatt hotels are poised to open along Upper King Street, the latest and perhaps largest addition to emerge in that rapidly changing part of the city.

The $80 million development at the Midtown site opens to guests Thursday, providing another 304 guest rooms for Charleston tourists and business travelers.

The centerpiece is the new Hyatt Place and the adjoining Hyatt House, the first dual-branded hotel in the region.

“This is a great achievement,” Mayor Joe Riley said of Thursday’s opening. “We stuck with the strategic plan because main streets like King Street need that flow of people going from block to block and then energizing the storefronts.”

Work on the nine-story Hyatt project began about two years ago, though the Midtown plans date back more than a decade. The completion of the hotels will provide a northern anchor to the booming Upper King business district, Riley said.

“You will the see the energy then further flow to Meeting Street and to Spring and Cannon streets,” he said Wednesday.

Pedro Perez, Hyatt’s general manager for the Charleston property, sees a “variety of guests” staying at the two lodgings.

“One-night stays to two-night stays to 30-night stays,” he said Wednesday. “So I think having two hotels is going to be appealing to numerous customers.”

In addition to the guest rooms, the property includes a parking deck and commercial space for retailers, restaurants and offices. In all, 433,000 square feet is being added at King and Spring streets. Charleston developer Robert Clement has been involved in the Midtown deal since he helped acquire the land in 2003. He compared the Hyatt Place and Hyatt House to the Belmond Charleston Place hotel and retail complex on the other end of King Street’s commercial district.

“People will be able to arrive at the hotel, stay at the hotel, leave their car at the hotel and basically walk anywhere they want to go on Upper King Street or lower King Street for that matter,” said Clement, president of CC&T Real Estate Services.

While Charleston Place was credited with igniting the redevelopment of downtown Charleston’s commercial district in the 1980s, the Upper King renaissance has been under way for several years. A wave of bars, restaurants and other businesses has flooded into the area.

Major investments have included Greystar’s Elan Midtown apartment complex at Meeting and Spring streets, which sold last year for $64 million, and the 120-room Holiday Inn Charleston Historic Downtown just to the south.

More recently, Charleston-based Greystar and the parent company of The Post and Courier have started work on the first phase of Courier Square, a large mixed-use commercial and residential project at Meeting and Columbus streets.

A few blocks away, developer Michael Bennett broke ground this year on his long-delayed eight-story hotel near Marion Square, a deal valued at more than $100 million.

Clement said the announcement of the new lodgings at the Midtown site helped accelerate some of the other new development.

“Everybody knew it was coming, particularly after it broke ground,” he said. “A lot of deals happened after that.”

City Councilman Robert Mitchell, who represents the Cannonborough- Elliottborough neighborhood, said he doesn’t think there’s much room for more major development farther up King Street, largely because of its residential nature.

“Right now on Upper King, once you leave Line Street ... I don’t see where anything else can go really like these tall buildings here,” he said.

Reach Allison Prang at 937-5705 or follow her on Twitter @AllisonPrang.