Demolition of the former State Ports Authority headquarters is underway as a California developer clears the site to make room for a luxury hotel overlooking Charleston Harbor.

An affiliate of Los Angeles-based Lowe bought the 1970s-era Concord Street property for $38 million in early 2017, but the maritime agency did not move out and into its new headquarters near the Wando Welch Terminal in Mount Pleasant until January. 

The developer obtained city permits for fencing and asbestos abatement over the next couple of months in preparation for demolition.

The razing will be more noticeable in coming months as exterior parts of the building are removed and the building is ultimately torn down.

"Demolition is expected to be completed in September and, upon completion, Lowe will begin construction on the planned 225-room waterfront hotel with a target opening for early 2022," said Dan Battista, Lowe's senior vice president of development in Charleston.

Jim Newsome, the ports authority's president and CEO, said in a tweet Saturday that the sale of 176 Concord St. to Lowe was "one of the best things we have done in my almost 10 years" at the agency.

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"Lowe will build a beautiful new hotel here," Newsome said.

The luxury lodging project has received preliminary approval from the city's Board of Architectural Review. Final approval was deferred at the May 22 meeting so that Lowe affiliate Leucadia Coast Properties LLC could address questions about building materials and other issues.

The hotel complex will include several amenities available to the public, such as retail space and a cafe. Planned construction along the harbor would add about 400 feet of waterfront walking area for visitors to the neighboring Waterfront Park.


Reach David Wren at 843-937-5550 or on Twitter at @David_Wren_