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Charleston area added 3,100 apartments in 2019; 6,000 more in the works

Avalon Apartments on James Island

The 273-unit Avalon apartment project on James Island is expected to be completed by the spring on Maybank Highway at a cost of $33.3 million, one of several multifamily developments rising across the Charleston region to handle the influx of new residents in the hot job market. File/Warren L. Wise/Staff

Charleston's booming economy and its ability to draw newcomers continued to boost apartment development last year and will bring even more units this year.

In 2019, nearly 3,100 new rental residences came online through 12 projects in the region, or about 4.8 percent of the Lowcountry's overall stock, according to a report from Multihousing News.

That's not quite the more than 4,600 added in 2018, but there's an equal number of units from that year expected to be finished this year and even more in the works.

Of the 6,000 units underway in the region at the start of February, about three-quarters are expected to be move-in ready by the end of the year, according to the report.

On a percentage basis of overall stock, Charleston came in second behind Asheville in new deliveries last year across the Southeast.

The Lowcountry's 3,092 new units last year represented 4.8 percent of the overall apartment offerings.

Asheville completed three projects with 948 units for 6.3 percent of the city's total rental stock.

The report pointed to the Charleston region's record port cargo volume, emerging technology sector, and booming industries such as Boeing Co., Mercedes-Benz and Volvo Cars building jetliners and passenger vehicles as reasons the population is growing.

Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham and Atlanta rounded out the top five areas across the Southeast with the largest percentage increase in newly opened units last year. Each opened more units in more projects than Charleston and Asheville, but the Holy City and the North Carolina mountain city completed more on a percentage basis of the total units on the ground.

New apartments

On the outskirts of Summerville, an apartment developer  who last summer asked the state for a stormwater permit to build 288 units recently asked Dorchester County to provide sewer service. 

HH Multi of Fayetteville, N.C., wants to build the rental complex in 13 buildings on a 21-acre parcel owned by Slandsville LLC where Dorchester Road meets U.S. Highway 17-A. Units will range from one to three bedrooms.

HH Multi is a sister company of H&H Homes, also of Fayetteville. 

Slandsville bought the 40-acre tract next to Dorchester Memory Gardens for $1.24 million in 2005, according to Dorchester County land records.

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Changing hands

A Texas company is the new owner of two garden-style apartment complexes in Berkeley County.

Napali Capital bought Espon Oaks at 2000 Epson Plantation Drive in Moncks Corner and Churchill Apartments at 601 Old State Road in Goose Creek from South Carolina-based KAH LLC for $17.75 million, according to real estate firm Berkadia.

Both complexes total 144 units in two- and three-bedroom floorplans. 

Also recently changing hands was the 280-unit Greenwood at Ashley River apartment community in North Charleston.

The Radco Cos. of Atlanta sold the property to Washington, D.C.-based Brick Lane for $29.6 million, or just under $106,000 a key, according to commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield.

Under Radco’s ownership, the complex underwent more than $4.3 million in capital upgrades for curb appeal and amenity improvements.

New workforce housing

Mount Pleasant's first workforce housing development is expected to break ground this summer after clearing final approval from town council earlier this month.

The 42 condominiums at Gregorie Ferry Landing off S.C. Highway 41 will be offered for prices between $212,000 and $285,000.

They are geared at families with incomes under $62,300 to be able to own a home in a town where the median sales price is well over $400,000, one of the most expensive places in the Charleston region to live. The project will be split evenly between one-bedroom units and two-bedroom condos.

The amended development agreement eliminates plans for a 23,000-square-foot office building on the site. Housing For All — Mount Pleasant applauded the decision after council's unanimous approval.

"I look forward to continuing to work with both public and private partners as we join together to address this urgent need in our community,” said Wendy Bauerschmidt, the group's executive director.

More than 70 percent of the town's workforce lives outside of Mount Pleasant because of the high cost of living, making the state's fourth-largest city largely a commuter community, according to the housing group.

The project is expected to be completed by mid-2021.

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Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524. Follow him on Twitter @warrenlancewise.