Earlier this year, C. Wonder, the national clothing and gift chain retailer known for its preppy edge, announced it would be closing its 32 retail locations. Including, of course, the location at 285 King Street here in Charleston.
It didn't take long for interest to come in from retailers eager to set their sights on Charleston. And as of earlier this month, the space has officially been LEASED. We can't wait to break the news of what retailer will be filling this highly sought-after space...it won't disappoint!
We know it to be true that King Street is a unique year-round destination for visitors and locals alike. But it's great when the experts agree.
Shopping Centers Today featured King Street in its February 2015 issue. As an extra bonus, our friends at Roberta Roller Rabbit were also included in this piece, a retailer we placed in their King Street location last year.
Give it a read below, or check it out online.
In Charleston, S.C., tourists keep downtown shops and eateries busy year-round.
By: Matt Hudgins
With two downtown colleges, a growing downtown residential population and thousands of tourists visiting each week, Charleston, S.C., is never short of retail customers. In particular, the retail sector thrives on King Street, a history-rich corridor running north-south along the peninsula that forms its central business district. Among the new arrivals on King Street are Roberta Roller Rabbit, an upscale boutique for men, women and children; a 3,000-square-foot women’s apparel boutique called Tina Stephens; and national clothier Vineyard Vines, which opened a 5,500-square-foot store.
“It’s almost like you’ve got a regional mall, but it’s a major street in downtown Charleston,” said Elaine Worzala, executive director of Carter Real Estate Center at the College of Charleston. “It has a lot of the national retailers, but also a lot of local, eclectic stores mixed in with unbelievable restaurants.” Worzala credits Mayor Joseph Riley and other city and community leaders with planning and nurturing the growth of the past three decades — relying upon tourism and the city’s historic value to promote retail, restaurant and nightlife development in a city center that had been in decline before the 1980s.
It was tourism that helped downtown retailers stay in business during the recent recession. And with a cruise ship terminal just east of King Street, plus about 1,000 rooms across 10 new hotels slated to open over the next two years, it looks as though tourism will remain the chief growth engine. Local retail demand is growing, however, as new residents move into the downtown, says Worzala.
Recently completed office projects are attracting new employers, adding to the housing, dining and shopping demand already coming from existing workers and from the populations of the College of Charleston and the Charleston School of Law. “The income level of the people coming onto the peninsula over the last five years has changed the character of the peninsula,” Worzala said. “Their incomes are much higher; a lot of people are retiring on the peninsula and have money to go to high-end restaurants.”
The city of Charleston recruits retailers and other employers and tries to match them up with the space available from local landlords and developers, says Mike Seekings, a lawyer who is serving his sixth year on the City Council. This has contributed to explosive growth since 2008, when the city launched its program to improve King Street. Today the downtown market consists of about 75 percent local and regional retailers, with the rest being national or international chains, in keeping with a targeted balance intended to preserve the local character of the business community. “That 75–25 balance is very important to us,” Seekings said, “to keep King Street a locally based and anchored retail, hotel and restaurant corridor and a world-class place to eat, shop and stay.”
Existing retail space is essentially full on King Street and in the surrounding downtown submarket, where the vacancy rate was a scant 1.3 percent in the third quarter of 2014, according to commercial real estate firm NAI Avant. The citywide retail vacancy rate was 7.3 percent in third-quarter 2014 — the most recent data available — and that was down a percentage point from the first quarter. “Three years ago the rents on King Street would have been anywhere from $25 to $35 per square foot,” said Ruth Marie Embler, a senior broker at NAI Avant. “But now we’re seeing in some cases $60 to $65 per square foot.”
We've long recognized and championed the trend toward second-floor retail space in downtown Charleston. Yesterday, The Post & Courier featured an article on the many retailers moving in upstairs in the coming months, and quoted our own Jennifer Davis as well as many of the retailers we have helped place on King Street in the piece.
Give it a read!
We love having our hands in the “changing face of King Street”. Thanks to Susan Lucas and King Street Marketing for including us in the following piece, and here’s to a New Year that brings even more exciting developments to our beloved King Street and beyond.
It’s boom time on King Street with many brands vying for precious few retail locations. The uniqueness of our renowned street, the people who shop it from here and everywhere, and our mix of local, regional and national stores, make it a great place for clever retailers to find a prosperous home. These smaller, niche businesses tend to be more involved in the area and inclined to participate in local events like the holiday shop and strolls.
Jennifer Davis of Domicile Real Estate Brokerage has placed quite a number of stores in their King Street locations and nicely so. She honed relationships with unique purveyors like Savannah Bee Company, Alex and Ani, and soon-to-open Roberta Roller Rabbit who will take the place of The Extra Mile. Jennifer has placed many of these by knowing the property would become available before it was on the market. Long time King Street realtors Buddy Bebergal and Kit Regnery understand that concept well. Between them they have sold and leased scores of King Street buildings because they are known and reputable in the community. Sometimes the sign never goes up.
Dearth of locations necessitates creative use of alternate spaces, upstairs locations and side streets. It’s a different approach, especially when they’re striving for walk-in traffic, but that willingness to participate in attention-getting events and campaigns with their neighbors helps put them on the map. Upstairs you’ll find The Yellow Door Gallery, John Pope Antiques, Paderewski/Sportsman’s Gallery, Salon Couture and the new Digital Remedy at 263 King. Digital Remedy will cure your smart phone and PC headaches quickly and painlessly; think 15-minute turnaround for phone repairs and same-day service for laptops. Easy enough to spend time on King Street while you wait.
Another upstairs delight, coming soon to183 King Street, is Susan Hull Walker’s IBU. In her own words, “I collaborate with women artisans all over the world in designing hand-created garments for women. The result is IBU, a line of hand-woven, spun, and dyed wraps, jackets, skirts, and shawls – each luxurious and unique.” The only thing more exquisite than the colors, textures and amazing variety of items available in the collection, is the design of IBU’s space itself. It’s a beautiful restoration that includes two floors of consumer-forward showrooms, ingenious dressing rooms, manufacturing space, and event space for Walker’s many social outreaches. Ibu is launching with a lot of fans already in place worldwide, and certain to bring attention to the upstairs culture of King Street. Watch for news of its opening; it will be grand. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want an invite.
Coming up: another cycle of festivals, events and fun downtown. Why would you go anywhere else? 2nd Sunday on King Street is January 11 where, we all gather to celebrate our Main Street, a monthly tradition now in its fifth year. Southeastern Wildlife Exposition (SEWE) hits in February with art, wildlife, education and family fun. Charleston Fashion Week, Charleston Wine + Food Festival in March, Spoleto Festival USAand Piccolo Spoleto and the opening of the Gaillard Performance Hall. We are blessed with a wonderful community with rich traditions. Happy New Year everyone.
Jennifer Davis and Domicile Real Estate Brokerage will host a Vintage Jewelry Trunk Show Saturday, May 19, from 1:00 to 4:00 PM at their new King Street office, 163 King in downtown Charleston. Candy Shop Vintage will provide a very nice selection of vintage and vintage-inspired jewelry for the event.
Candy Shop Vintage resells special pieces of vintage jewelry discovered by Deirdre Zahl. She works hard to find pieces that are affordable, chic, and have contemporary appeal, visiting flea markets and estate sales all over the East Coast. Each item is a special, hand-selected treat.
Candy Shop Vintage is inspired by the aesthetic of vintage candy stores and soda fountains with jewelry that elicits that same combination of nostalgia and excitement.
CHARLESTON, SC - February 22, 2011 - Jennifer Davis, Domicile Real Estate Brokerage, recently leased the property at 216 King Street to Savannah Bee Company, who opened their first Charleston shop last Saturday. The purveyor of honey, body care and gifts has three locations in Savannah, GA.
"Founder Ted Dennard and his staff were so easy to work with. They truly believe in their product and the space conveys that confidence and quality very well. It's beautiful. I quickly picked up the Royal Jelly Body Butter; it's the most amazine cream I've ever used and I can't wait to give it to everybody," said Davis. The space was formerly occupied by The Body Shop.