Historic home converted to downtown Charleston inn is sold

The Governor’s House Inn is at 117 Broad St., between Orange and Legare streets. The 18th-century Charleston mansion has operated as a lodging since the late 1990s.

A Broad Street lodging that was once home to a South Carolina governor and signer of the Declaration of Independence has been sold and could be getting a few upgrades.

A company formed by a Mount Pleasant attorney bought the Governor’s House Inn for $5.3 million on Friday, according to Charleston County property records. The seller was a business affiliated with Kevin Shibilski, a former state lawmaker in Wisconsin.

Karl Novak, a member of the law firm Richardson Patrick Westbrook & Brickman LLC, bought the historic downtown property under the name Governor’s House Inn LLC.

Kimberlee Gerston, the inn’s director for operations, said the new owner plans to make some minor improvements, such as painting the interior and exterior, to bring it up “a couple of notches.”

“It already is an exceptionally grand and beautiful home.” Gerston said. “We’d like to go in and just improve what’s there and make it better.

She added: “As with any large property, it will take time and money and we need to decide what is the most important items to do in the beginning. There’s a lot involved in taking over and running an inn from the roof to the basement.”

The rates for the 11-room lodging range from $210 to $365 a night, according to its website.

Novak, the new owner, said he felt the property and inn “was a good investment.”

“This day and age the equity markets only do so much for you,” he said.

Novak, who specializes in asbestos-related litigation at Richardson Patrick, said he won’t be involved in the day-to-day operations of the property.

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The inn is at 117 Broad St.

The U.S. Department of the Interior designated the property as a National Historic Landmark in the early 1970s. The Georgia-style mansion was constructed around 1760, according to “The Buildings of Charleston.”

It formerly was the home of Edward Rutledge, a South Carolina governor and member of the 1st Continental Congress who was the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence. Rutledge bought it in 1788.

The property has operated as a bed-and-breakfast since the late 1990s and has had at least three different owners since then. Shibilski bought it in 2007 for $5.1 million under the name Southern Charm LLC.

Reach Allison Prang at 843-937-5705 or follow her on Twitter @AllisonPrang.