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Ritzy condo complex coming to downtown

  • Updated
Ritzy condo complex coming to downtown

The hotel and condominium building planned at the corner of Calhoun and Concord streets would comprise a high-quality hotel with 70 rooms, 49 condominium units, a restaurant, a spa and shops.

Few sectors of today's real estate market have been hit harder than condominiums, but the developers of Charleston's Concord Park site think there is unmet demand for high-end condos in the heart of the city, and they are pressing ahead with plans to build them.

"It will be One Vendue Range, on steroids," said Wally Seinsheimer Jr., a partner in the Concord Park project and developer a decade ago of the One Vendue Range condos along the city's Waterfront Park.

As with One Vendue Range, the plan at Concord Park is to build 49 pricey condos -- expected to sell for just under $800 a square foot -- on property near the water, adjacent to a city park.

The main difference is that the condos at Concord Park would share a building with a 70-room hotel, restaurant, spa and other businesses.

That means someone living in one of the condos could pay for housekeeping, order room service, or have someone collect their dry cleaning. That's the "on steroids" part.

"We really believe that the market is there," said Seinsheimer, of Johns Island-based Dolphin Architects & Builders. He said the hotel is expected to be of four-star quality.

The courtyard-style, six-story building that will house the hotel, condos and businesses at Calhoun and Concord streets is moving through the city's architectural design process, and would be the second building constructed on the Concord Park property.

The 10-acre site is bounded by Calhoun, Concord, Laurens and Washington streets, and is also known as the location of the former Ansonborough Homes low-income housing project, which was flood-damaged in 1989's Hurricane Hugo, then demolished in 1992 because of pollution discovered in the soil.

The city sought to redevelop the site and in 2007 agreed to sell 3.5 acres of the property to East West Cumberland Park Associates, Seinsheimer's group, for $16 million.

The majority of the land, an area roughly the size of Marion Square located in the center of the property, will become a redesigned city park.

Plans call for the south end of the site, along Laurens Street, to become home to additional housing, and an apartment building for senior citizens with modest incomes that the nonprofit Humanities Foundation is expected to build.

"One thing that strikes me about this project is how optimistic the development group is about downtown Charleston, versus downtown developments in other parts of the country," said Tim Keane, Charleston's Director of Planning, Preservation & Sustainability.

"We do not have, anywhere else in the city, any ongoing condo developments going through the approval process."

The Board of Architectural Review has approved the conceptual design plan for the hotel and condo building. Two more rounds of BAR approval are required.

Seinsheimer said the condos could go on the market at the start of next year -- condos are typically sold before they are built -- with completion expected in 2014.

Units will range from 1,300-square-feet listing for just under $1 million up to enormous 5,000-square-foot penthouse units.

Keane said work on the adjacent city park, which is being planned by a city-hired landscape architect, also could begin next year.

The hotel and condo building would join an office building nearing completion, to fill the Calhoun Street side of the site.

The 63,000-square-foot office building, known as 25 Calhoun St., was developed by Holder Properties of Atlanta and Charleston-based Durlach Associates. The first and largest tenant, Young Clement Rivers LLP, is expected to relocate its offices this year.

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