Within steps of one another on King Street, three former family-owned retail stores are poised to become mixed-use developments that place first-floor storefronts and boutique hotel businesses in one structure.
One of the proposed developments, planned for the shuttered Dixie Furniture Store at 529 King St., is up for its first review from Charleston's Board of Architectural Review this week.
Designs submitted to the city show a 4½-story stucco facade with two retail stores on the ground floor and 50 guest rooms divided between the upper floors. The stores and hotel lobby front King Street while space for covered valet parking spots fill the back of the lot.
The top level, as proposed, would be a half floor with two guest rooms, a third room labeled only as an "amenity" and areas for open-air rooftop seating.
Dixie Furniture first opened in a different storefront in 1946 and moved to 529 King about two years later. Owners closed the downtown store in May 2017, after about 70 years in business.
The site was sold by the furniture store owners later that month for $6.75 million to 529 King Investors, according to Charleston County land records.
Dixie Furniture's two other stores, in North Charleston and Walterboro, are both still open, and the North Charleston location unveiled a renovated showroom late last year.
Approval to demolish the King Street store was secured in the fall of 2017, but the building is still standing. The property is between a women's clothing store and another now-empty storefront where upscale outdoor retailer Orvis Co. recently announced it intends to set up shop.
Across the street sits the empty Morris Sokol Furniture store, which closed a couple years before Dixie Furniture, in 2015. The family-run business served customers on King Street for about 94 years.
Like the proposed development across the street, plans for the Morris Sokol building include a mix of retail and hotel rooms. Additionally, the plans, which were presented to a city zoning board earlier this year, call for 20 condominium units.
The request for 50 hotel rooms has been approved, but designs for the Morris Sokol building have not been voted on by the Board of Architectural Review.
Though it would be cheaper to tear it down, Mike Shuler, part of the group that purchased the Morris Sokol building in 2016, said the owners intend to keep and restore the existing facade.
A third hotel-retail split is planned for the former Bob Ellis shoe store down the street. That project, which calls for 22 hotel rooms, two apartment residences and four storefronts, already secured two of three necessary approvals from the BAR. The plans also include a cafe and a cobblestone courtyard area that would connect to George Street.
Similar to the plans that will be reviewed Wednesday, the development would have retail stores facing King Street, guest rooms on the upper floors and parking spaces in the rear.
The same architect, Stephen Ramos of the Charleston-based firm LS3P, is listed as the applicant for the projects at both the Bob Ellis store and Dixie Furniture buildings.
Like Dixie Furniture and Morris Sokol, Bob Ellis was a decades-old fixture for downtown shoppers. When it closed at the end of 2016, it had been open for about 66 years.
Though the building adjacent to the former shoe store was approved for demolition, the Bob Ellis building will be kept and restored in the construction process.