A downtown Charleston parking lot sold recently at nearly double the price from three years ago, but no structure is planned for the increasingly valuable site.
Instead, the small parcel at 145 East Bay St. will remain a parking lot.
The buyer, an affiliate of Heights Equities of Charleston, plans to use the lot for valet parking and other parking needs when it opens a new restaurant and event space at the former Lagunitas Brewing site up the street at 161 East Bay, according to co-owner Brenden Maloof.
That building, also owned by Heights Equities, has been undergoing an overhaul after running into structural issues last year.
The Heights Equities affiliate paid $4.06 million for the less-than-one-third-acre lot with 40 parking spaces, or just over $100,000 a space.
Three years ago, the site sold to a Greenville developer for $2.375 million.
Plans presented to the city in 2016 called for a four-story office structure to rise on the site about one block north of Broad Street, but the Board of Architectural Review wanted the top floor lopped off after saying it was too tall for the area. Neighbors in the French Quarter historic district also complained its scale was too intrusive.
Since then, nothing has changed at the lot, which extends to State Street.
As for the parking lot's price, Maloof said it is in line with current values in the downtown market for parking.
"If you bought a condo in downtown Charleston and needed a parking space, the going rate is about $90,000 to $100,000," he said.
Lagunitas Brewing took over from Southend Brewery in September 2016, but the building later ran into structural problems with some bricks falling off. The city ordered scaffolding to be put up to protect pedestrians.
Earlier this year, Lagunitas, which was paying for repairs under its lease agreement, pulled out after saying renovations were too expensive to continue to do business there.
Heights Equities has been busy ever since trying to get the building up and running again.
"We are in complete demolition mode," Maloof said. "We are bringing it back to its previous warehouse structure and bringing it back up to code. We are bringing it back to its former glory."
Heights Equities bought the former Lagunitas site in 2014, paying $5.5 million for the 16,300-square-foot property.
The structure, which dates back to 1880 and is formally called the Wagener Building, will be rebranded once a dining establishment is selected and the event space is ready to launch.
"We think it will be a great product and a great benefit to the city," Maloof said.
Heights Equities is run by the Maloof family, which started in the New York and New Jersey areas with several properties in the early part of last century. It has now gravitated its operations mostly to Charleston, said Maloof, who now lives in the city.
In addition to Lagunitas and the parking lot, the company also owns a short-term beach rental site on Sullivan's Island, two Red Lobster restaurants in North Charleston and Salt Lake City, two Hardee's restaurants near Atlanta and a Buffalo Wild Wings in Hartford, Conn.
In June, it sold the Terrace Theater site on James Island for $4.5 million to an affiliate of the Addlestone Group of Charleston.
The timing of the theater site sale was not really tied in with the parking lot purchase, though the prices were similar, Maloof said.
"We have historically (invested in) apartment buildings and ground-floor retail," he said. "(The theater) really didn't fit the portfolio. The sale just happened at the same time."