Update: All 500 Global Entry interview slots in Charleston are full. When the slots fill up, the site is no longer listed, which is why many people trying to schedule an interview couldn't find Charleston as an option. On the other hand, those who have been pre-approved can complete their final interview at many larger airports while waiting for their baggage. See the links here and here for more information.
Two federal programs that make it easier to get through airports are making a return flight to Charleston.
U.S. Customs officers with the Global Entry program for travelers entering the United States will be conducting interviews March 26-28 at the Gaillard Municipal Center on the peninsula.
Officers with the TSA’s PreCheck program for travelers flying out of U.S. airports will conduct interviews April 26-27 at the AAA office on Sam Rittenberg Boulevard.
An online application and background check are required before either interview.
The application process for Global Entry starts with creating an account through the "Apply Now" link on the Global Entry website at tinyurl.com/y7kvhlrs. Travelers can't schedule an interview until they're conditionally approved.
Creating the account costs $100, and it's not refundable if applicants are denied because of a past DUI conviction or some other reason. Membership is good for five years.
The interviews will be conducted in the Gaillard Center's first-floor public meeting room at 2 George St. in downtown Charleston.
Those who are approved for Global Entry are also eligible for PreCheck.
The PreCheck interviews will be conducted 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. April 23-26 and from 1 to 5 p.m. April 27 at the AAA office at 2031 Sam Rittenberg Blvd.
Appointments can be scheduled at universalenroll.dhs.gov. Click “Apply Now,” and at Step 4, enter Charleston SC and choose “Pop-Up Event: AAA Carolinas.” Then move to the bottom of page and click Next for an appointment time.
At the interview, you must show a government-issued photo ID with proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a passport or birth certificate, and be fingerprinted. Membership is $85 for five years.
Bigger is back
A request to change the zoning at Calhoun and Concord streets to allow 180 hotel rooms instead of 100 is back on the Planning Commission's agenda Wednesday, after being withdrawn last month.
The site at 7 Calhoun St. is the empty field near the S.C. Aquarium. RB Charleston LLC, an affiliate of RockBridge LLC of Columbus, Ohio, bought the property in 2015 for $5.75 million. Concord Park Associates LLC is also listed as a partner.
Moving into Music City
Charlestowne Hotels, the management company that's based in Mount Pleasant, has opened its first property in Nashville.
The 81-room Fairlane Hotel was the former headquarters of Fidelity Federal Savings & Loan. The renovation is a retro modern design, including a 1970s-inspired 4,000-square foot penthouse, fourth-floor terrace restaurant, Montreal-style delicatessen and lobby coffee counter.
Charlestowne Hotels added 10 new properties to its management portfolio in 2017, including two historic hotels in Vermont and a redevelopment project on the West Coast. It operated 47 hotels at the end of last year.
The company reported a 6 percent increase in average revenue per available room last year, which was twice the national average for the seventh consecutive year, but it did not disclose the dollar amount.