Benefits of Owning a Property in Charleston

Benefits of Owning a Property in Charleston

The Charleston real estate market is on a roll these days, with the population rising and businesses moving in to take advantage. In fact, Charleston’s population is growing at three times the national average. As a result, properties are going quickly. If you’re interested in owning property in the Holy City, you should act fast. The following are just a few of the benefits of owning a property in Charleston.

Economic growth

The Charleston economy is growing in practically every sector. The economy is now diversified among business, manufacturing and development, the health industry, and more. Manufacturers like Boeing and Mercedes have helped expand the manufacturing industry and provide jobs. With Charleston ranked as one of the top tourism destinations in the U.S. – and named Travel + Leisure’s best city in the world in 2016 – the visitor industry has continued to remain strong. The area population grows at a rate of 48 people per day, making the area a hotspot for new developments and business expansion.

Real estate market

The manufacturing, commercial, and residential markets in Charleston are doing great and expected to continue on a positive trend. Many are choosing to buy property instead of renting due to high rental rates. Because the market is doing so well, we may soon see a shortage in property until development catches up. The key to taking advantage of the Charleston real estate market is to act quickly.

Great spaces

With development going strong, a lot of great spaces are opening up all over Charleston – on the peninsula and beyond. These spaces are designed to give Charleston residents and visitors a unique experience that takes advantage of the area’s residential and retail markets. Some developments offering both commercial and residential spaces are 601 Meeting and WestEdge in the heart of downtown and Central Island Square on Daniel Island.

Job market

The expanding job market and the opportunities it provides are another benefit of owning property in Charleston. In 2016, one of every four jobs created in South Carolina was created in Charleston, and job growth is expected to increase. With a growing startup and tech communities, Charleston is becoming an innovation-based job market. It’s an exciting time for business and job growth in Charleston, and office space is going quickly as a result. Developers are looking to keep up with the upswing in employment opportunities and company growth, so business owners should keep an eye out for Charleston spaces.

Charleston’s economy and real estate market are expected to continue on positive trends, with the city continuing the economic growth it has experienced for decades. If you have been considering buying property in Charleston, now is the time to take advantage.


Location Spotlight: Downtown Charleston

Location Spotlight: Downtown Charleston

It’s no secret that Charleston has been booming over the last few years. From advances in industry, development, and business, both Charleston’s economy and population are growing. With new people flocking to Charleston and new business developing, the Holy City is seeing steady commercial growth, and with good reason: one study ranking the best cities to start a business in 2017 found that out of 358 metro statistical area, Charleston ranked number 82. Downtown Charleston has become one of the prime spots for businesses and retail stores looking to get in on the city’s successful growth. Here are a few of stores and businesses that are planning expand to or break ground in Downtown Charleston.

“Fancy food court” and incubator space Workshop by Butcher & Bee owner Michael Shemtov and chef Jonathan Ory will be opening soon at 1503 King Street. Workshop will play host to six rotating kitchens and dining concepts, letting visitors experiment and get a taste for different chefs and food vendors. The space features both indoor and outdoor seating and can accommodate more than 300 people. Vendor occupancy will range anywhere from 1 to 5 months.


Also coming to the upper peninsula at 1505 King Street is the Pacific Box and Crate development from the Raven Cliff Co. Sitting on ten acres, Pacific Box and Crate will provide 130,000 square feet of office space spread across three buildings. Pacific Box and Crate is designed to be a space not only where businesses can prosper, but also a place where Charlestonians can come to have a coffee, grab dinner, or even take a yoga class.

Pacific Box and Crate (Rendering/L3SP)

Tenants are already planning to move into the space, including growing ventures like The Harbor Entrepreneur Center, CrowdReach, and PhishLabs, which moves into a larger space in anticipation of adding 45 new jobs over the next year. Edmund’s Oast also plans to open a brewery and restaurant in the space.

Areas surrounding Upper King Street and the upper peninsula are seeing drastic changes due to redevelopment and revitalization efforts. Many of these projects focus on bringing businesses to the area, from tech and industry companies to restaurants and stores to create an area where work and fun go hand-in-hand.

Many of these efforts are a part of the Charleston Upper Peninsula Initiative. The goal of the Upper Peninsula Initiative is to revitalize and redevelop the Upper Eastside of the peninsula into an innovative urban community. Development projects include startup incubator Flagship 3, office and living spaces, and more. Existing office spaces and restaurants like goat.sheep.cow.north and Lewis BBQ are examples of the successes the Initiative has already seen in developing the area.

Flagship 3

601 Meeting and WestEdge are other developments that will provide space for new business and retail ventures in Downtown Charleston. The area is constantly evolving and changing, and businesses from tech to retail are looking to get into the Charleston market.


                      601 Meeting                                                                     WestEdge

Hot New Spots for Retail Space in Charleston

Hot New Spots for Retail Space in Charleston

Thanks to the constant flow of tourists and loyal local patrons, retail in Charleston is always growing. But as the Holy City continues to attract retailers from all over, finding the right space may prove difficult. As a result, developers are coming in to create new space and expand retail to the edges of the peninsula and beyond. Keep an eye out for some of these hot new spots for retail space in Charleston.

Central Island Square

Coming to Daniel Island later this year is Central Island Square, a development of luxury apartment buildings with prime street front retail. With wide sidewalks lining retail space and a large outdoor courtyard, Central Island Square will be the perfect place for the Daniel Island community to come together for their shopping and dining needs. Central Island Square is expected to be completed in fall of this year.

601 Meeting Street

601 Meeting Street is one of the latest ventures in downtown Charleston development and revitalization of the upper Meeting Street area. Located along Huger and Meeting streets, the apartment and retail space will offer approximately 16,000 square feet of street front retail opportunity. With 20’ ceilings and stunning steel and glass exterior, 601 Meeting will provide an exciting and striking presence for retailers.


Downtown Charleston development will soon provide retailers with another exciting opportunity. WestEdge is a vibrant community coming to invigorate the medical and research district with a taste of the historic district. The community will provide living and working spaces along with opportunity for retail. WestEdge is designed to bring the best and brightest together to discover, collaborate, and thrive while providing an exciting living experience, expecting upwards of 50 new shops and restaurants. Developers expect completion of the grocery, dining, and shopping facilities in October 2018.

Courier Square

Evening Post Industries and various developers have undertaken an long-term redevelopment plan to update the area surrounding its office. The Courier Square site will comprise the 12 acres surrounding EPI’s uptown Charleston office. While work has already begun, expect to see ongoing development and opportunities for space becoming available as this long-term project continues.

Ashley Oaks Plaza

Redevelopment of existing spaces has been a common trend in Charleston over the past few years, and the trend continues with West Ashley’s Ashley Oaks Plaza, located at the intersection of Ashley River Road and Wappoo Road. Developers plan to update the shopping center to focus on local retailers and businesses and potentially hold a large chain grocery store. West Ashley makes up half of the city’s population, and Charleston residents are ready to see the area upgraded and revitalized. The redevelopment of Ashley Oaks Plaza is just the beginning for the West Ashley area.

What Does a Property Manager do?

What Does a Property Manager do?

When renting or leasing a space, most people think of interacting with a landlord when it comes to managing the property and dealing with any potential issues. But some properties have a property manager that negotiates and communicates with tenants rather than a landlord. So what exactly is a property manager, and what do they do?

A commercial property manager in a nutshell is a steward of another’s property.  The manager serves as a liaison between the landlord and tenant.  The lease serves as the governing document in the relationship, and it is the manager’s job to ensure both parties comply with the terms of the lease document both parties executed. While the specifications and responsibilities of a property manager vary based on property type and terms of their contract, the following are just a few of the typical tasks performed property managers.

There are numerous hats worn by the property manager, which can be divided into two different but related categories—the physical and fiscal aspects of the property.  On the physical side, the manager inspects the condition of the property, hires and manages all the vendors and service providers, and makes recommendations for improvements and maintenance of the asset to preserve its value.  On the fiscal side, the manager prepares the annual budget, collects tenant rent payments, pays all service providers and vendors, handles the banking and mortgage relationships, reports all financial activities monthly, and distributes cash to the owner as directed by the owner.

Many of a property manager’s tasks are similar to that of a landlord’s. Unlike a landlord, however, a property manager does not own the property they manage. Property managers are hired to conduct the affairs mentioned above when an owner is unable to personally tend to them. Although property managers are not technically landlords, they still must abide by state landlord-tenant laws, acting as a sort of middleman between the owners and tenants of a property.

The best commercial property managers are adept at time management, and building longstanding relationships with their tenants, owners, and vendors, which goes a long way to ensure the smoothest business environment for all concerned.

What Does Tenant Representation Mean?

What does Tenant Representation Mean?

In discussions about commercial real estate, you may have heard the perhaps unfamiliar term tenant representation come up. Tenant representation refers to the practice of a real estate agent or broker representing tenants when it comes to both locating and negotiating commercial leasing spaces. The real estate and business markets are becoming increasingly complex, and companies as well as individuals are looking to tenant representatives to help them navigate these markets. Whether renewing a lease or relocating, a tenant representative can help you find the best space for the best price, using their expertise to negotiate the optimal lease for your situation.

When looking for a tenant representative, you should look for someone who is a market expert, a professional negotiator, and practiced in the process of leasing transactions. For the average person, successfully navigating the fickle real estate market is no easy feat. But a tenant representative, with intimate market knowledge when it comes to location, buildings and spaces, and common trends, can help you take advantage of opportunities and find the best options.

You should also look for a tenant representative who has mastered the art of negotiation, using their market expertise to broker with landlords and owners. Representatives with strong, established relationships with landlords and building owners will also optimize your options and expedite the transaction process.

Effective tenant representation goes beyond these simple, although important, traits. A tenant representative’s knowledge should extend beyond basic market research and skillful negotiation. Knowledge of certain disciplines like financial analysis, real estate law, demographic studies, and even architecture make the difference between an adequate tenant representative and an excellent one. Tenant representatives should also take the time to understand the goals and objectives specific to your company, the industry you work in, and how location and real estate work into your business.

Finding the right location for your office or business space is an important task that can have long-term effects on the performance and success of your operation. In a time where markets are unpredictable and complex, using a tenant representative is the best way to ensure that you are making real estate decisions that will benefit your business operations.

Location Spotlight: Park Circle

Location Spotlight: Park Circle

Over the years, an increasing number of people have been leaving the peninsula and hub of Charleston to enjoy North Charleston’s gem, Park Circle. The area has seen a boom in recent years when it comes to industry and manufacturing, retail, and development. The Park Circle community is truly that, a community, and people are eager to be a part of it.

One of the reasons so many Charlestonians have been making the move to Park Circle is affordability. The peninsula and closely surrounding areas have been seeing a huge increase in rent and the cost of living, as so many young people and families are making the move to call the Holy City home. Park Circle offers an affordable, exciting alternative to downtown Charleston, with a median home sales price of $168,000.

Park Circle is the pinnacle of the master plan for North Charleston developed in 1912 and completed following World War II. Since the end of the war, development has continued to boom, as the area has seen an increase in both manufacturing and commercial development. The area is home to the Boeing South Carolina, a 787 Dreamliner assembly facility, which has provided approximately 7,500 locals with employment and gives an impactful boost to the local economy.

With industry and opportunity bringing so many families and individuals to the area, Park Circle has created a community perfect for just about anyone. Park Circle’s different neighborhoods offer residents with a variety of contemporary and traditional housing options. Traditional Park Circle was designed as a great place to live, work, and play. Well-established old homes come in a variety of sizes and styles, giving the area a traditional neighborhood feel. Mixson boasts the same activity and fun as Traditional Park Circle, but with beautifully-designed, green modern homes. Mixson is also home to open-air event venue The Barn. Hunley Waters is North Charleston’s only gated waterfront community, providing residents with breathtaking views and exciting wildlife. Park Circle’s most recent development, Garco Park is perfect for young professionals looking for one, two, or three bedroom apartments in a modern environment.

Park Circle succeeds in its goal to provide residents with a community atmosphere where they can enjoy the best in entertainment, dining, and shopping. Parks and recreation is a large part of the Park Circle experience, and the area provides residents with plenty of beautiful parks and countless recreational activities. Park Circle also boasts some of the best established and up-and-coming restaurants, and is also only minutes from prime shopping areas like the Tanger Outlets, as well as the North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center. Park Circle’s downtown district is also the perfect place to do some shopping, grab a bite to eat, or enjoy a night on the town.

Park Circle’s variety of activities, commercial and residential real estate, and businesses are drawing families, young people, and empty-nesters alike to this amazing community. It is no wonder that Park Circle has experienced so much growth in recent years, and it will surely continue to boom in the years to come.

Charleston’s Best Coworking Spaces

Charleston's Best Coworking Spaces

In today’s business world, the nature of office life is changing. From open offices to an increased focus on company culture, new trends involving the office are continually arising. One of these trends is the use of coworking spaces. A coworking space is a shared working environment, typically an office, in which individuals work independently, and often are not employed by the same organization. This new kind of office environment is popular with freelancers, independent contractors, and people who travel frequently. Studies have shown that many people are thriving in coworking spaces, making them an increasingly popular trend in the business world.

Check out the best that Charleston has to offer when it comes to coworking spaces, and see if this office trend is right for you.

Launch Pad

Launchpad of Charleston

Launch Pad’s goal is to make the workplace professional, collaborative, and fun. Originally started in New Orleans, Launch Pad now has a location in the heart of downtown Charleston on Meeting Street. LP offers beautiful office spaces, a collaborative culture, and flexible rentals. Members can take advantage of month-to-month desk rentals or 6-month office leases. Work with the best and brightest entrepreneurs, freelancers, and creative professionals in Launch Pad’s beautiful space.

Holy City Collective

Holy City Collective of Charleston, SC

Entrepreneurs, executives, and creative types alike can utilize Holy City Collective’s 4,000 square foot space on Daniel Island. This coworking and meeting space offers a variety of options and amenities to its members, and even has “a la carte” options for those who are not ready to commit to a monthly membership.

Local Works

Local Works of Charleston, SC

Local Works is a coworking space developed by Lowcountry Local First to help entrepreneurs harness creative energy and collaborate. The idea for this coworking space stemmed from a desire to support local businesses and help them thrive. Interested in seeing more? Check out a virtual tour of the Local Works space on their website!


InnoLabs of Mt. Pleasant, SC

Last but certainly not least, Mount Pleasant’s InnoLabs was created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs as the perfect place to inspire, create, and collaborate. InnoLabs hope that through in providing a space for entrepreneurs to work on their businesses, share with each other, and mentor each other, they can help these visionaries come up with big, bright new ideas.

10 Ways to Maximize Your Retail Space

10 Ways to Maximize Your Retail Space

In a growing city like Charleston, even smaller retail spaces can get quite expensive. As a result, many retail business owners have to find ways to maximize a minimal amount of space, which is often easier said than done. Luckily, we have a few tips to help you do just that. Check out these ten ways to make your retail space feel anything but small.

  1. Find the perfect layout

Your store’s floor plan and layout sets the flow of traffic for the store. There are a few different layouts designed to help the flow of traffic and make the most of even small spaces, including diagonal, angular, the default straight, or a mix of them all. No matter what layout you choose, remember that you are always free to adjust and put your own variations on your store’s layout, finding what works best for you and your customers.

  1. Go vertical

One of the best ways to make use of your space is to go vertical when displaying your items. Maximizing your use of vertical space not only saves space, but is also visually appealing to customers. Vertical displays and decor draw the customer’s eye up and create the illusion of a larger space.

  1. Avoid clutter

A cluttered store is detrimental to customer traffic flow. You may think that getting as much inventory out on the floor is more important than avoiding clutter, but displaying more merchandise will not help your sales if the space is too crowded. If a customer feels crowded or awkward, they will likely take their business elsewhere. A good rule of thumb to help customers feel comfortable is making sure that aisles are wide enough for two way traffic.

  1. Keep it light and bright

Lighting can either help or hinder maximization of your space. Use a combination of lighting methods, including floor lamps, ceiling lights, and table lamps to add variety and make sure every corner of the store is lit, making the most of your limited square footage. But remember that lighting should be bright, yet soft; harsh lighting is rarely aesthetically pleasing and often overpowering.

  1. Pay attention to paint color

Paint color should reflect the atmosphere you want to create for your space, but should not overwhelm the space nor the customer. When it comes to both paint color and decor, most retail spaces have primary and secondary colors. Primary colors are neutrals that should account for the majority of decor, creating a relaxed setting. Secondary colors are bold and complementary, adding flare and personality to the relaxed primary color. Darker colors may create a dungeon-like impression of the space, so you may want to stick with lighter paint colors and accents.

  1. Paint an accent wall

Another way to create the illusion of space in a small retail setting is to paint an accent wall. One wall painted a bright, bold color will make it look like the space is receding. While the accent wall should be a bolder color than the rest of the walls, the room will feel more spacious the lighter the color.

  1. Get creative with displays

While shelves are a great way to make use of vertical space, you may want to consider moving beyond shelves and getting creative when it comes to your displays. Some alternatives include ladders, hanging displays, or DIY displays. That doesn’t mean you should not use shelves whatsoever, just make sure to add some variety and depth to your shelf choices.

  1. Create the illusion of space with decor

In addition to vertical displays and decor and an accent wall, there are various ways to create the illusion of space in a small retail store. Mirrors are a quick and easy way to help spaces feel larger and brighter. If your space has windows, consider ditching window treatments, as they take up an unnecessary amount of room and may keep light from filling the space.

  1. Utilize visual merchandising

Following most of these tips will help you take advantage of visual merchandising, which refers to using elements of design and display to increase sales. This includes highlighting merchandise and products, maximizing space, and creating an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere for the customer. A customer forms his or her impression of a store not just by what merchandise sold, but also how that merchandise is visually displayed. Make sure that when picking a store layout, putting up displays, and arranging merchandise, you are thinking about visual merchandising.

  1. Decorate for the customer

Last but not least, decorating your retail space in a way that will be pleasing to your target audience can help maximize sales, despite the size of the retail space. Customers walk into a store hoping for and expecting a certain kind of experience; anticipate the kind of experience your customers want to have, and create your space accordingly. Teenagers likely want a fun, modern atmosphere with bright colors and decor, while older audiences might want a relaxing environment where they can feel calm and escape the chaos of work and home life. The more comfortable and at-home a customer feels, the more likely they are to make a purchase.

Is an Open Office Right for You?

In recent years, the trend of the open office has taken over. Many believe the open office plan fosters a culture of collaboration, transparency, and equality among coworkers. However, an open office comes with its fair share of issues. In some cases, the lack of privacy, interruptions, and general noise heighten levels of anxiety among employees. So what’s better- an open office layout or separate cubicles and offices? Here’s what you need to know in order to determine which layout is right for you.

One of the benefits to open office plans is that an open office maximizes space while minimizing costs. Rather than paying for partitions for cubicles or for walls to separate offices, a space can simply be filled with tables and chairs without any extra cost.

However, cost efficiency is not the only benefit to an open office floor plan. The trend stems from the idea that placing creative people in close proximity to one another will foster a collaborative community in which more ideas are shared, built on, and improved. Not to mention, whereas coworkers may become jealous or self-conscious due to the size of a colleague’s office or the placement of their cubicle, the open office space creates a sense of equality and camaraderie among coworkers. However, the open office plan is not perfect. In fact, many employees in open offices cite the lack of privacy, frequent interruptions, and the noise level as major cons in this kind of layout.

The main issue lies in distraction. With so many people working, making calls, communicating, and performing all sorts of activities in one space, it is very easy to be distracted, especially in large offices. Due to the noise, most people plug in their headphones and turn up the music, drowning out the rest of their coworkers, killing the creative collaboration these spaces are supposed to foster. Here at Lee & Associates, we utilize an open office space and cut out any distractions with the use of a white noise systems, so there are aways around distractions in this layout. However, this layout won’t work for all companies. With Medical or Legal practices for instance, there are privacy concerns that could prevent the concept from being implemented.

However, many companies have found that when it is done “right,” the benefits of an open office floor plan can outweigh these potential drawbacks. A successful open office layout is both structured and diverse. In an open office, employees need to have diversification in where and how they are working. Set up different areas or zones designated for different kinds of work; create a quiet area where people can work without noise and distractions; have conference rooms where people can conduct sales calls or collaborative meetings. The list can become extensive.

While the word structure may sound taboo in the age of laidback startup companies, a productive workplace does need to establish a few rules in order to be productive; employees need to understand that the quiet area is designed to be just that- quiet. In addition to structure and diversity, management needs to be out in the open in order to create a successful open office operation. When managers or supervisors are available and present, employees will feel more connected to their superiors and more comfortable when approaching them.

In the end, it is up to the individual company to discover the office layout that works best for them. No list or opinionated article will tell you if an open office or a cubicle office will make your company as productive and collaborative as possible. Talk to employees and coworkers to understand the needs of your office, and create the space accordingly. And if you decide that an open office plan is the best choice for you, make sure the space works for you.  

Up-and-Coming Locations for Retail in Charleston in 2017

Over the past few years, the Charleston area has been growing rapidly. People are leaving the heart of the peninsula as newcomers move in and prices go up, and businesses are following. While King Street property still reigns supreme, you no longer have to be on King Street to make a pretty penny in retail. Here are 5 up-and-coming areas to consider for retail space in the Holy City and beyond.

One of the hippest areas in downtown Charleston these days is NoMo. The name comes from the location, north of Morrison Drive in the city’s upper peninsula. NoMo is a popular place among the young professional crowd in Charleston. The Tattooed Moose was one of the first restaurants in this area, and has been a favorite among Charlestonians and tourists since its opening. Many businesses have followed suit and seen a lot of success in the NoMo area, including the likes of Lewis Barbecue, Butcher & Bee, and Edmund’s Oast.

Similar to NoMo, downtown Charleston’s Eastside has seen a boom in real estate, both commercial and residential. The newfound popularity of the Eastside is a result of population and business growth on the peninsula. The area is home to restaurants and businesses in the beautifully renovated Cigar Factory, and hip new club The Commodore. The Eastside’s popularity will only grow, so get in while the rent is still affordable.

Park Circle
Leaving the peninsula and downtown Charleston, we come to Park Circle in North Charleston. Park Circle has become hugely popular for families, young people, and empty nesters alike to enjoy a community full of activity, from parks and recreation to booming businesses and restaurants. Popular spots in Park Circle include EVO Pizzeria, Mixson Market, and Basico.

Johns Island
Development is also moving west of Charleston to Johns Island. In the next few years, Johns Island will probably be similar to James Island in terms of population and commerce. The island is currently home to longitme favorites Fat Hen and Sweeney’s, all complemented by the island’s oak-lined roads and natural beauty.

North Mt. Pleasant
Finally, to the east of the peninsula lies Mt. Pleasant, where development has been booming for the past few years and is beginning to expand north. In fact, census estimations found that Mt. Pleasant grew more quickly than any city east of the Mississippi River in 2015. Large neighborhoods like Park West, Brickyard, and Wild Dunes along with Wando High School have families flocking to the area, making north Mt. Pleasant the perfect destination for retail businesses.