90-92 East Bay St. — Made for entertaining, richly-restored 18th century townhome touts original, contemporary themes

REAL ESTATE -- The former warehouse and steamship headquarters at 90-92 East Bay St. is now a home. It is for sale for more than $2.7 million (Leroy Burnell/postandcourier.com/4/10/2012).

By JIM PARKER The Post and Courier

This stately building can rightly claim a rare double: set within what was once the walled city of Charleston and bordering the teeming antebellum waterfront.

Not only that, a prominent steamship line would set up shop there 175 years ago. More recently, the structure housed a distinguished boy’s school.

Today, the property at 90-92 East Bay St. is a private residence. Known as the Ancrum Wharf Building, the house spans 3,762 square feet on two stories, showcasing a slate roof, picture-postcard views, towering ceilings and a ballroom-sized entertaining space.

The townhome, built circa 1781, is on the market for $2,495,000.

Listing agent Diana Goff says the two-level house is geared toward “someone who likes to entertain.”

Fifteen foot ceilings mark the open, second floor living-dining room-kitchen, large enough to hold 100 guests and supported by a high-end Bang & Olufsen sound system and nine exotic light fixtures crafted by a New Orleans artisan, she says. The kitchen features a large granite-topped island and ample contemporary style cabinets. There are two Miele convection ovens, dishwashers and Sub-Zero refrigerators apiece and a gas cooktop.

In the 19th century, that same space housed the passenger waiting area for vessels boarding via the Savannah and Charleston Steam Packet Co.

While a single family residence, 90-92 East Bay could be attract a buyer with a large family, extended or otherwise. “I think it would be wonderful for a mother-in-law (or) older children,” says Goff, Realtor with Daniel Ravenel Sotheby’s International Realty.

The first floor sports two bedrooms, laundry, two full baths and a powder room. Also on the ground level is an elegant family room with heart pine floors and a wet bar sporting an icemaker, refrigerator and cabinets.

Goff sees the home as fitting for someone wealthy from a big city. “I think this would be a great house even for someone from New York or Chicago to move here.”

In her real estate listing, she cites the townhome’s striking exterior of stucco-plaster over brick masonry walls. There are rows of windows with custom working shutters on three sides (the fourth side shares a wall with an adjacent home).

The flooring stands out inside: 90 percent of the house has original heart pine floors, she says. The large windows, four to a wall on each floor, take advantage of natural sunlight. An upstairs hallway skirts the back wall, which is exposed brick.

The residence has four bedrooms, including a suite with luxurious bath on the first floor and master bedroom upstairs complete with a large sitting room and marble-floored bath.

Built-in storage is abundant, with SieMatic-brand cabinets and sliding drawers in bathrooms, bedrooms and living areas.

Another perk is the Ancrum Wharf Building’s prime location in the historic district. The townhome is on the northeast corner of East Bay and cobblestone South Adgers Wharf.

Across East Bay are the notable Rainbow Row townhouses and just past South Adgers Wharf is Hazel Parker Playground. The home is a block or so from Charleston Harbor and minutes from downtown shopping, art galleries, restaurants and nightlife.

The townhouse’s historic ties are also notable. According to Goff, the property is one of the few wharf-related structures from the 1700s to have lasted in Charleston.

The building, when it housed the steamship company, was the southern terminal for the first steamship line between New York and Charleston.

In the 20th century, the East Bay structure was the site of Gaud School. The boys school remained there until 1962. It would merge with Porter Military Academy to form Porter-Gaud in the mid 1960s.

Goff says 90-92 East Bay St. has had a number of showings: an open house was to be held Wednesday.

“It has its challenges but offers a lot for the right people,” she says.

The property is situated a couple of blocks below Broad Street. Heading south from uptown, take East Bay Street and continue across Calhoun Street. Pass by the Market area and then across Broad Street. Turn left on South Adgers Wharf. On the left is 90-92 East Bay.

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com


Office: Daniel Ravenel Sotheby’s International Realty

Phone: 843-442-0850 Philosophy: “I focus on service, integrity and discretion with my clients.”