Morris Sokol new owners hint at mix of uses

File/Leroy Burnell/Staff The new owners of the former Morris Sokol Furniture store in downtown Charleston say it's likely to be a mixed-use property when it's redeveloped.

In the biggest hint yet for the future of the former Morris Sokol Furniture store site, the new owners say the prime piece of downtown Charleston real estate could be used for different things.

The new owners, an investment firm with local and out-of-state ties, still aren’t revealing specific plans for the iconic building at 510 King St. after paying $22.5 million for the 50,000-square-foot structure last week.

“City officials and residents alike have been eagerly anticipating a new retail-anchored presence on this stretch of Upper King Street,” according to a statement from Vanderking 510 LLC, the new owner. “This property could very well have a mix of uses that will encourage more daytime foot traffic.”

Vanderking LLC, managed by Frederick Simon and Michael Shuler, in partnership with Greenwich, Conn.-based Wexford Capital, bought the property from longtime owner Joe Sokol.

Simon, of Connecticut, owns other properties in Charleston. Shuler is with real estate firm King Street Commercial, which handled the transaction.

Morris Sokol closed last fall after 94 years in business after Sokol, 83, decided to retire and no family members wanted to take over the business.

“The decision to sell was a private family matter,” Sokol said in a statement. “However, it was ultimately predicated upon the confidence that the buyers were not only capable but honorable, and we look forward to seeing our family legacy carried forward as part of the next generation of King Street.”

The new owners said, “Planning for the master development of the site is under evaluation.”

The property sits in an area of the city that has undergone rapid change in recent years, with more hotels, restaurants, bars and retail stores calling the Upper King corridor home. Nearby, other developments are in the works, including a five-story hotel on Upper Meeting Street, a 10-story apartment building on Woolfe Street and and eight-story hotel rising a few blocks south next to Marion Square.

Reach Warren L. Wise at (843) 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.