Merchants Hall Chiavari Chair former Wild Wing

A new space for wedding receptions and corporate events  on the second floor of the former Wild Wing restaurant building at 36 N. Market St. is set to open May 1. Provided/Pearce Development 

A new space for wedding receptions and corporate events called Merchants Hall is taking shape in the former Wild Wing Cafe building in the City Market area.

It’s expected to open May 1 on the second floor at 36 N. Market St., according to Houston Pearce of Pearce Development, the building’s owner. The old brick walls will remain visible, and big windows overlook the market, although shades will be able to block out light if needed for meetings.

"We’re pretty proud of the space," Pearce said.

It tkes its named from merchant J.C.H. Claussen, who built the structure around 1850 for a wholesale business. Early photos show a third story that was blown off by a tornado in 1938, according to the Historic Charleston Foundation.

The ballroom will be about 2,800 square feet, with room for 180 people standing or 150 seated. The space will also include men’s and women’s restrooms, a warming kitchen and a bridal or host suite.

The entrance will be in back.

A 50-room hotel is also planned for the two-story building, as well as the parking lot behind it and the former Molly Darcy’s site on East Bay Street, but those plans have been held up by a lawsuit over the city approving it. Pearce said he had nothing to say about the hotel plans.

Inn update 

Andrew Pinckney Inn

The Andrew Pinckney Inn at Church and Pinckney streets, seen here last week, is undergoing a renovation of the lobby and upstairs suite. Dave Munday/Staff

The Andrew Pinckney Inn at 40 Pinckney St. in the City Market area is undergoing a renovation of the lobby and the upstairs suite, according to owner Steve Varn. He expects the work to be finished by the first of April.

The lobby in the iconic yellow building at the end of Church Street will retain the brick walls and concrete floors of the old blacksmith shop, Varn said. The other eight guest rooms in the building will get a facelift over the next year.

Lincoln Logs layout

A giant Lincoln Logs structure that's expected to be the biggest ever built will remain on view in the lobby of Belmond Charleston Place for 30 days, according to an announcement from the downtown hotel.

It's so big, a team from Novus Architecture in Mount Pleasant was called on to design and assemble it.

The world record is 17,384 logs, according to Guinness World Records. More than 30,000 logs had already been collected for the mammoth downtown Charleston exhibit as of last week. Assembly was set for Saturday.

The project is in honor of Sam Lee, who built a fort from Lincoln Logs the day before he died of brain cancer at age 5 in 2016. His mother, Erin Benson of Charleston, started a foundation called With Purpose to raise money for childhood cancer research. More information is at

At the BAR

Liberty by Hilton Club revised (copy)

The design of the proposed 100-room Liberty by Hilton Club at East Bay and Calhoun streets continues to evolve. Provided/Garvin Design Group

We're starting a weekly newsletter about the business stories that are shaping Charleston and South Carolina. Get ahead with us - it's free.

Plans for a 100-room timeshare on the Starbucks site at Calhoun and East Bay streets in downtown Charleston are up for another review Wednesday.

The city Board of Architectural Review has approved the demolition of the Starbucks and Charleston Digital Corridor buildings but deferred approval of the new building at the last meeting.

The project is called Liberty by Hilton Club, reserved for Hilton Vacation Club members. It's by the Strand Capital Group, a timeshare and condominium developer in North Myrtle Beach. The Garvin Design Group of Columbia is the architect.

The meeting starts at 4:30 p.m. in the Gaillard Center at 2 George St.

Myrtle Beach boost

Myrtle Beach's tourism economy is getting a boost from some new flights at the airport.

Allegiant announced last week that twice-weekly direct flights from Flint, Mich, and Louisville, Ky., will start June 6 and from Nashville on June 8, bringing an estimated 20,000 additional visitors to the Grand Strand.

The city's tourism leaders are aiming at attracting 20 million visitors a year by 2020.

Reach Dave Munday at 843-937-5553.