Southcoast Bank may be East Bay bound

Southcoast Community Bank’s branch network extends around the Charleston peninsula, but not on the peninsula. That could be changing.

The Mount Pleasant-based lender’s parent company disclosed in its annual report that it has picked up a property at 299 East Bay St. “for future branch expansion.” CEO Wayne Person said last week the bank does not have a timetable for opening in the former Photo Express site, where East Bay meets Society Street.

Southcoast has expanded into most of area suburbs from its East Cooper base since opening its doors in July 1998. The bank did not come to own the peninsula site through a traditional purchase. Southcoast said it acquired the property through foreclosure and decided to keep it.

The New York-based public relations firm that handles some major accounts in Charleston now has a full-time office in the city. Lou Hammond & Associates recently opened a 2,200-square-foot office on the fourth floor of the King and Queen Building at 145 King St. The agency, with dozens of accounts across the U.S. and other offices in New York, Miami and San Francisco, already has brought in five employees and hopes to add two more on lower King Street.“We made a commitment to Charleston, and we feel like it’s a growth situation,” said Hammond, who has a house downtown. Her firm’s local clients include the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Peninsula Grill and Wild Dunes Resort.

Charleston-area computer programmers will join their brethren in Columbia this week at the annual Palmetto Open Source Software Conference, or POSSCON.

Started in 2008, the sold-out conference this year will feature speakers like the chief tech officer of Obama for America 2012 and the White House’s director of new media technology as well as folks from firms like Google and Groupon. Local presenters include Don Taylor of Benefitfocus, Tom Wilson of Jack Russell Software and Jeremy Martin of SPARC. Go to for details.

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Maryland-based home builder Nexus EnergyHomes unveiled yet another gadget to shrink the carbon footprint of new homes in the Lowcountry.

The developer of several subdivisions in Mount Pleasant, Summerville and Johns Island has teamed with The Dow Chemical Co. to add solar shingles on homes along the East Coast.

Nexus already has been touting its super-efficient “green” homes designed to generate the energy they consume. That includes insulated structural panels and geothermal heating and cooling systems. Nexus also has projects under way in Maryland and Pennsylvania.