Developer pays big premium for Charleston tract

The property at 28 Woolfe St. formerly was a frozen-food warehouse that partially collapsed in 2013. The Elan Midtown apartment building is in the background.

A former Woolfe Street warehouse property that fetched $2.7 million less than a year ago has changed hands again — and at a big markup.

An Atlanta-based multifamily developer has paid $8 million for the downtown Charleston property, county real estate records show. The sale closed last week.

The purchaser is an affiliate of South City Partners LLC, which is involved in the apartments that are to be built as part of the Horizon Project near the city’s medical district.

The Georgia company could not be reached for comment about its specific plans for the Woolfe Street tract, which measures less than an acre. The property is between King and Meeting streets, next to the Woolfe Street Playhouse.

For years, Taylor’s Frozen Food operated a warehouse on the site. According to news reports, the roof and other parts of the aging structure collapsed in August 2013. No one was hurt.

The remnants include sections of the brick walls, including a portion that is supported by heavy-duty bracing.

The previous owner was an affiliate of New York-based Spandrel Development Partners, which bought the property in August. On its website, the company said it was planning to develop 28 Woolfe into an eight-story luxury apartment building with some ground-floor retail space and parking. A rendering showed some of the surviving walls being incorporated into the facade of the new building.

Tim Keane, the city’s planning director, said the proposed structure has received first approval from the Board of Architectural Review. The new owner has indicated that it hopes to stick with the same design and concept, though Keane was uncertain whether South City Partners is planning condominiums or apartments.

Either way, the zoning requires that 15 percent of the living units be classified as “workforce housing” for low- to moderate-income residents, Keane said.

As for the rest of the building, the developer will have to shoot for the high end of the market based on how much it paid for the raw land, said Elaine Worzala, executive director of the Carter Center for Real Estate at the College of Charleston.

“They must be anticipating a pretty big cash flow,” she said Thursday.

The property is in a rapidly changing part of the peninsula that’s attracting fresh investment from real estate developers, she said. At the nearby Midtown project, two Hyatt hotels are almost complete. Around the corner, Elan Midtown added 200 luxury apartments and retail space at Meeting and Spring streets in 2013.

About a block north, The Post and Courier’s parent company is working with private developers to build the first phase of Courier Square, which will include apartments, commercial space and parking on a 2.4-acre lot at Meeting and Columbus streets.

Contact John McDermott at 937-5572.