Marion Square hotel magnet Two more lodgings proposed for area

A rendering of the hotel proposed for 141 Calhoun St., between King and Meeting streets, is the tallest structure shown in this image. It would face Marion Square. Credit: Provided/141 Calhoun Street LLC 10/2012

The boon of new hotels planned around Marion Square in downtown Charleston continues.

One of the latest accommodations in the works is an eight-story, 50-room hotel over parking at 141 Calhoun St. Plans for the site, which is next to Trio Club, come before the city’s Board of Architectural Review on Wednesday.

The hotel would sit across the city park from another proposed eight-story hotel at the former Charleston County site on King Street. That long-delayed project can now begin construction since its developer and the city prevailed over preservationists last week in a state Supreme Court decision over the height of the structure.

In addition, a 46-room lodging is proposed about a block south at 115-117 Calhoun St., between Meeting and Elizabeth streets, according to plans submitted to the city.

The new lodgings are the latest hotel projects to crop up on the peninsula in recent years, an about-face to the dearth of such developments amid the recession. Another prominent deal is the conversion of the former Mendel Rivers Federal Building on the Meeting Street side of Marion Square into an upscale hotel. And nearby, a 120-room Holiday Inn is set to open at Meeting and Woolfe streets in December

The latest wave of planned hotels comes as local officials are poised for a possible surge in more out-of-towners since The Holy City was recently coined the No. 1 tourist destination on the planet, according to readers of Conde Nast Traveler. Charleston is host to roughly 4.5 million visitors each year.

Steve Litvin, professor of hospitality and tourism management at the College of Charleston, has said the peninsula’s lodging market could benefit from more expansion. It’s a need fed in-part by Charleston’s hotel marketplace being healthier than the national average, averaging 70 percent vacancy rate and even higher on weekends, he added.

Chris Price, of 141 Calhoun Street LLC, said he could be teaming with Live Oak, an Atlanta-based firm, to open the unnamed hotel across from Marion Square early as 2013. The 8,000-square-foot property currently houses a single-story building occupied by a hair salon and a parking lot in the rear.

Plans call for demolishing the existing structure and replacing it with a building with staggered heights that would top out at 80 feet, according to designs submitted to the city.

The deal is the latest downtown commercial project for Price, president of the PrimeSouth Group, a real estate firm with offices on upper King Street. The company has been involved in numerous downtown commercial projects, including the renovation of 526-528 King St. for retail space and the redevelopment of 466 King for the future corporate headquarters for software company PeopleMatter.

“We have been the pioneers here and we have been here for a long time,” Price said. “A lot these projects have been floating around and are now coming to fruition.”

At 115-117 Calhoun, property owner B and B of Charleston LLC is seeking a special exception for the three-story building to house a “boutique inn” in that area, according to its attorney, Jonathan L. Yates. City zoning officials will take up the request at a Nov. 5 public meeting.