Wild Dunes owner to buy waterfront ports property Site could be developed into 225-room hotel with harbor views

Lowe Enterprises has owned Wild Dunes Resort on the Isle of Palms for the past 26 years. It now wants to buy prime waterfront property on the Charleston peninsula from the State Ports Authority.

A California investment firm that owns Wild Dunes Resort on the Isle of Palms plans to buy the State Ports Authority’s office building overlooking Charleston Harbor, the maritime agency said Wednesday

Lowe Enterprises of Los Angeles “submitted the best financial offer for the property,” the SPA said in statement.

The sale would include the authority’s longtime headquarters building at 176 Concord St. near Waterfront Park and an adjoining parcel where Fleet Landing restaurant operates. The restaurant will continue to operate through 2024 under its current lease agreement.

The SPA did not announce the proposed sale price, which is said to be at least $40 million.

The SPA received offers from a dozen groups vying to buy the property. The details of the offers have not been publicly disclosed.

The site, which has unobstructed views of the harbor and Atlantic Ocean, could be developed into a 225-room hotel under the city’s current zoning regulations. The SPA did not say what Lowe Enterprises intends to do with the site.

A spokeswoman for Destination Hotels & Resorts, a Lowe’s hospitality subsidiary based in Englewood, Colo., did not respond to repeated emails and telephone calls Tuesday and Wednesday.

Destination Hotels has more than 20,000 rooms under management at 88 properties, including Wild Dunes. It is described as the nation’s largest independently owned resort management company.

Lowe Enterprises met the Wednesday deadline to pay an additional $750,000 in earnest money toward the purchase. All bidders had to pay a refundable $250,000 deposit with their initial proposals.

Lowe will be under a tight deadline to finalize its transaction. The company has 120 days to inspect the property and make sure its plans meet city regulations. The $1 million becomes nonrefundable at the end of that period, and Lowe must close on the purchase within another 30 days.

The SPA plans to lease the property back from the buyer for up to two years while it builds new offices at Wando Welch Terminal in Mount Pleasant.

Lowe Enterprises was formed in 1972 by Robert J. Lowe, who is chairman and CEO. It has owned Wild Dunes since 1990.

The privately held company describes itself on its website as “a diversified national real estate organization, operating from a foundation of core values and a commitment to excellence, integrity and sound business judgment.”

Reach David Wren at 843-937-5550.