Major retailer might park on King Street

Morris Sokol Furniture at 510 King St. is closing, and a national retailer is looking to take over the building.

A deal is in the works to add more than 600 parking spaces off Upper King Street as part of an effort to attract a national retailer to the area.

The city of Charleston said in public documents that it wants to build an estimated $16.5 million, 603-space garage on Mary Street that would be partially leased to an unidentified new tenant in the nearby Morris Sokol Furniture building.

The longtime furniture store at 510 King St. is going out of business after 94 years. Its prime piece of downtown real estate at King and Reid streets is expected to become the site of a “national retailer,” according to the city documents.

Structured Parking Solutions LLC is in talks to build the garage at 82 Mary St., which is behind and adjacent to the Sokol site, according to a memorandum of agreement between the city and the company. Charleston would pay the Florida-based construction firm a $3.5 million development fee under the proposed deal, which has not been approved.

The city also is in negotiations to lease a portion of the parking deck for about $1.6 million to a developer called Charleston Diversified Realty Fund I, which has a contract to buy the Sokol site for an undisclosed amount, according to the documents.

The city said the leased space would be for the real estate firm’s “ground-floor tenant in the Sokol property” and provide about 78 validated parking spaces for the unidentified retailer. The sublease would run 30 years with the option of renewing yearly over the next 20 years.

The city would control the other 525 spaces.

Hughes Lumber & Building Supply, which dates back to 1888, currently occupies the proposed garage location.

Calls to the longtime hardware company to determine its plans were not returned Tuesday.

The owners of the Hughes Lumber property would lease the land to Structured Parking Solutions, the agreement shows.

Mayor Joe Riley said Tuesday there was no firm contract. “It would be risky to speculate,” Riley said. Morris Sokol owner Joe Sokol declined to comment about the deal.

A local representative for Charleston Diversified Realty Fund I did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.

The proposal was set to go before Charleston City Council on Tuesday but it was postponed to a later date.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or Diane Knich at 937-5491.