South Carolina is No. 11 in the U.S. based on the number of hotel developments in the pipeline, according to the most recent report from real estate intelligence firm Lodging Econometrics.
The Palmetto State has 151 projects underway or on the drawing board with a combined 15,000 or so rooms, according to the report. About 30 percent of them are out of the ground, with an equal share in the early stages of development. Work is scheduled to start on an estimated 65 hotels statewide in the next year.
South Carolina should see 31 hotels with about 3,500 rooms open before the end of 2019, the report found.
Across the U.S., about 5,650 hotel projects are in some phase of development, a roughly 7 percent increase over this time last year and 236 short of the highest total the firm has ever recorded.
The volume of hotel projects in development in the U.S. is now in its seventh consecutive year of growth. Extended-stay properties and dual-branded projects made notable gains early this year compared to the beginning of 2018.
Ghost tour takeover
The ghost tour program at Patriots Point is now under new management, and the Mount Pleasant maritime museum's audio tours are also being overhauled.
Charleston's Bulldog Tours became the official ghost tour operator on the historic Yorktown aircraft carrier earlier this month. The "Haunted Yorktown" tour is being offered daily, starting at 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7 and 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
The company's founder, John LaVerne, said leading tours on the Yorktown was like a "final piece of the puzzle" for him after launching tours at the about 170-year-old Magnolia Cemetery in March.
Tour goers can expect to learn about maritime superstitions, the aircraft carrier's christening by Eleanor Roosevelt, the mysterious disappearance of a sailor and the famed Yorktown fighter pilot “Smokey” Stover.
In 2012, the Yorktown was featured on the Syfy Channel's "Ghost Hunters." A crew spent several nights on the ship tracking paranormal activity. Several months after the episode aired, year-round nighttime ghost tours on the World War II-era vessel were announced.
Later this year, Bulldog will introduce new foreign language audio tours which will be available in Spanish, German and Japanese. Special audio tours for children will also be offered for the first time.
Design plans for a full-service hotel near Charleston's Waterfront Park are up for final approval this week, and another downtown project will have its second review.
The city's Board of Architectural Review granted the second of three approvals for the 225-room hotel planned on Concord Street. Final approval from the detail-oriented panel would be one of the last steps before construction can start.
Los Angeles-based developer Lowe paid the State Ports Authority $38 million for the maritime agency's former waterfront headquarters. Its plans for the development include an extension of the pedestrian walkway along Charleston Harbor and retail spaces and a cafe on the hotel's ground floor.
The design plans for a boutique hotel at 235 East Bay St., just north of Market St., will also be up for review. When the BAR granted conceptual approval to the plans, it urged the architects to come back with a design that was "warmer" and less rigid.
The board meets Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. on the first floor of the Charleston Gaillard Center.