For decades, customers came to 332 King St. to try on pairs of loafers, heels and boots at the family-owned Bob Ellis shoe store.
Now, the property, along with the neighboring building, is on its way to becoming part of King Street's next hotel.
The Board of Architectural Review will decide this week if the development — which would include retail, hotel rooms, residences and a cafe — should receive preliminary approval.
Spots for four retail storefronts will face King Street, while the entrances to the lobby and cafe will be tucked behind them, accessible from a cobblestone path and courtyard connecting to George Street, according to conceptual plans that the board approved in October.
Past the courtyard will be a 21-space asphalt parking lot, running parallel behind the existing CO Restaurant and German retail store Vom Fass.
The accommodations section of the ground floor includes space for a lobby, a spa room and an 859-square-foot cafe. The city Board of Zoning Appeals specified with its approval that two units must only be used as residential apartments. But with approval for 22 accommodations units, the building will primarily be filled by guests rather than residents.
When the former shoe store was sold to JPM Naples SPE last year in a $9.5 million deal, the buyers already planned to convert the property to a lodging over stores. Initially, 18 guest rooms were planned, but when the building next-door was incorporated into the concept, that number was increased.
The BAR meets at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday on the first floor of the Gaillard Center. If the plans are approved, the board still needs to vote on final approval for the development.
In an 11-2 vote, Charleston City Council recently moved to ban plastic bags, straws and foam containers citywide. Communities across the U.S. have initiated similar bans over the last several years in the hopes of protecting local environments.
Now, the next plastic product that could hit the chopping block is sitting on hotel bathroom sinks and shower shelves almost everywhere: miniature bathroom amenities.
In the first ordinance of its kind in the U.S., Santa Cruz County approved a ban last month on single-use plastic bottles in hotels and vacation rentals. According to the policy, all visitor accommodations in the coastal California county must opt for reusable soap and shampoo dispensers or bottles larger than 12 ounces.
No such policy is on the horizon in Charleston — even the plastic bag ban was approved with some trepidation — but that doesn't necessarily mean mini soaps are here to stay in the Lowcountry.
When Santa Cruz County passed its own ban on single-use plastic bags in 2012, the policy was relatively unheard of in the U.S. Now, several years later, hundreds of municipalities have banned or taxed plastic bag use.
If mini shampoos and soaps aren't banned by local ordinances, they might be voluntarily phased out by hospitality companies. The world's largest hotel groups, Marriott International and InterContinental Hotels Group, or IHG, are starting to replace miniature bottles with wall-mounted soap and shampoo dispensers.
Two IHG brands have relied on bulk amenities since they launched, and Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites are all phasing in reusable dispensers.
Duane Parrish, the director of the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, has added another leadership position to his resume. Last month, he was elevated to chairman of National Council of State Tourism Directors after serving as vice chairman for a year.
The group is made up of travel industry leaders from all 50 states as well as Washington, D.C. and five U.S. territories. Under the umbrella of the U.S. Travel Association, the council acts as a forum to discuss issues that affect tourism nationwide. Members also work to influence national policy on travel-related issues and support coordinated marketing efforts between state offices.
Before being tapped to statewide office by former Gov. Nikki Haley in 2010, Parrish worked in Charleston's visitor industry. He served as president of the Berkeley County-based Premier Hospitality Group and was in leadership at the Charleston area's Convention and Visitor's Bureau.
Parrish will serve as the council's chairman through next November.