By JIM PARKER
The Post and Courier
Folly Beach in its 1940s heyday was the place to go for Charleston’s emerging suburbanites, who headed to the ocean pavilion and its big bands.
Just ask LaJuan Kennedy, who grew up on the island. She’s a long-time agent with —- and in recent years, owner of — Fred Holland Realty.
She currently has the listing on 110 W. Cooper Ave. Built in 1945, the house grew up in the beach’s prime postwar years. Today the home, nicknamed “Iguana” by its owners, is somewhat dated with window cooling units instead of air conditioning. But the property is preserving its enviable past of hardwood floors, stucco siding and a Spanish tile roof while providing a fitting site for renovations of the home’s top floor, ground level with separate entrance and two 600-square-foot rental cottages on a lot that stretches back to West Erie Avenue.
The property, which all told is 3,391 square feet, is priced for sale at $710,000.
According to Kennedy, “This is an older house (with) the older character to it.” Located a football field from the town’s main drag Center Street, the property is zoned commercial and would make a suitable spot for a bed and breakfast, she says. Or the building could be turned into an office: It has housed real estate firms twice before.
The house is a duplex with no stairs connecting the main and lower levels. The first floor and the two cottages are leased and the top level is often filled as a vacation rental. The various residences house 11 bedrooms, four bathrooms and a garage. A buyer could recoup costs through the various rents, she says.
The property is proximate to undoubtedly the island’s biggest draw.
“You are very close to the beach,” Kennedy says. “We get a lot of people who pull wagons of children (to the shore).”
In her real estate listing, Kennedy spells out property highlights:
• The home’s upstairs is comprised of four bedrooms, renovated bathroom with claw foot tub, functional kitchen, a front porch and a deck in back.
• The ground level rental has three bedrooms, one bath and has been improved with wood walls and a bar-kitchen area. It opens to the rear of the house.
• Mature magnolias, palm trees and a large live oak mark the yard. The roof in back is flat and could be turned into a rooftop patio.
• There’s a driveway with parking off West Erie that could be used for deliveries if the house becomes a commercial venture such as a restaurant.
• The two bungalows are painted tropical colors and each sport two bedrooms, kitchen, den and screened-in porch. A buyer could turn them into shops, bakery or coffee bar.
The 110 W. Cooper Ave. house, which the Realtor remembers was once named “Honey Do” (for ‘honey, do this, honey, do that’) isn’t historic. But it is tied to the ebbs and flows of island history.
The barrier spit in the 1800s was known as Coffin Island, says Kennedy, an unofficial island historian. It got the name because sick crewmen on ships would be left on the island to fend for themselves.
During the Civil War, the first black regiment, the Union’s 54th Massachusetts, encamped nearby. In the 1930s, writer Dubose Haywood would pen “Porgy” while living on Folly Beach. It would inspire the famed Gershwin opera Porgy and Bess.
Says Kennedy, “This was a bedroom island for Charleston in the 1940s and ’50s.” A major move toward development took place after 1985, when sewer lines connected the island to the mainland. A beachfront mid-rise hotel was erected, and developers launched Sunset Beach as an upscale neighborhood on the Folly River.
Hurricane Hugo caused heavy damage but the island was on the south side of the worst winds. Since then, the town has undergone two beach renourishment projects, which she says has helped maintain the sand.
Island properties, meanwhile, are growing valuable. “There are beautiful homes up and down,” she says.
The West Cooper Avenue site is no exception. Say Kennedy in her listing, “This property has amazing flexibility and presents a rare opportunity in place and time as the commercial area continues to mature to take a distinctive piece of Folly and make it your own.”
The house is located half a block from Folly Beach’s commercial district. Heading south, take the James Island connector to Folly Road. Make a left in Folly and continue seven miles, crossing the Folly River onto Center Street. Go five blocks and turn right. Ahead on the right is 110 W. Cooper Ave.
Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Agent: LaJuan Kennedy
Office: Fred Holland Realty
Philosophy: “I am a life-long resident of Folly Beach with more than 35 years experience in real estate and can offer you the knowledge and experience that only comes with time. My mission statement? To portray Folly Beach.”