The massive brick siding on Queen Street and unremarkable garage doors around the corner on State offer few clues as to what’s inside.
If you look closely, or walk on Queen’s south sidewalk toward East Bay, and you'll see an arched front entrance, the modest Queens Gate sign, and a rows of buttons where guests can buzz individual owners. But even then, the property hardly stands out.
No wonder starlets, who wanted to slip in and out of Charleston incognito, stayed there. Actress Ann-Margret reportedly frequented the spot in the ’80s when the properties were apartments, says Helene A. Settle, broker associate with Daniel Ravenel Sotheby’s International Realty.
“That’s an interesting thing, to have a place like that in Charleston,” she says.
Erected in 1835 as a warehouse, the nearly block-long building at 3 Queen St. caught the eye of a developer more than two decades ago. The buyer acquired it and a couple of adjacent French Quarter properties for $285,000, a ridiculous price now but quite a lot of money in the early 1980s.
The developer rolled out Queens Gate as pricey rentals 24 years ago. They were converted to high-end condominiums a decade later.
Most of the condos sold when they were first marketed, Many are second or third homes of wealthy locals or out-of-towners. Every so often, condos will be up for resale. Unit 310, the largest single dwelling at 1,952 square feet, is available for $829,000. The homeowners association dues, based on square footage, are $800 a month. Fees go to paying for property management as well as amenities such as a cavernous fitness center. There is also off-street parking, a much-prized attraction in downtown Charleston. A first-floor garage supplies spaces for all owners.
The two bedroom, two-and-a-half bath loft-condominium for sale has its share of intricate, even exotic, features. “I think it probably would be a second home but it is perfectly big enough to live in,” Settle says.
Hueske Brothers LLC, run by brothers Mark and Eric Hueske, took nearly two years to remodel the condo. Settle says that according to the owner, the contractor extensively rewired and installed all new plumbing. There are two new deluxe heating and air conditioning systems with humidity control and electronic flitering.
Rooms and stairs have antique heart of pine flooring. High-up “eyebrow” windows, so called because they are oval shaped and come in a pair, provide views of downtown rooftops. The first floor sports a wide living room with 20-foot ceilings and two skylights. There’s a kitchen, bath and small wet bar.
Particular attention was paid to the kitchen. Crews raised the kitchen ceiling one foot while reinforcing the loft’s support system. Countertops are Costa Esmeralda granite from Iran. Glass in the custom cabinets is antique.
Peyton “Rick” Averett at Ole Charleston Forge on East Bay Street crafted an iron bannister from a picture the owner’s wife found of a bannister in a French chateau.
The upper floor loft has a large master suite with built-in bookshelves and a travertine-tiled bath. It overlooks the main floor but can be closed off by plantation shutters. A well-appointed second bedroom and bath are also on the second floor.
While some of the units at Queens Gate are modern inside, unit 310 offers an historic ambiance, with period portraits, large brick and stucco walls and hardwood floors.
Like all 26 of the complex’s condos, the dwelling is secluded yet in the middle of Charleston’s thriving downtown.
“It’s really so hidden in plain view,” Settle says.
To locate the Queens Gate unit, take East Bay Street heading south. At Queen Street, turn right. The building is on the left. Unit 310 is on the second floor.
Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or email@example.com
Agent: Helene A. Settle
Office: Daniel Ravenel Sotheby’s International Realty
Phone: (843) 906-5916
Philosophy: “Listen to what your clients say, and more important, hear what they don’t say. Concentrate on what they are trying to achieve and move forward accordingly. Keep them informed at all times. Be available, be creative, work hard.”