A waterfront restaurant on Charleston’s peninsula, once the subject of a real estate dispute between Charleston County Council and the State Ports Authority, won’t be going anywhere any time soon.
Fleet Landing, which has been operating under a lease that expires in 2024, recently signed an extension that will keep the casual dining spot and watering hole at 186 Concord St. in place through 2049, according to its finance manager, Sarah Nielson.
It wasn’t so long ago that the eatery’s future wasn’t so secure. The restaurant, which is owned by Tradd and Weesie Newton and is housed in a 1940s-era naval debarkation building, is sandwiched between the SPA’s former headquarters and cruise ship terminal. It was included in a $38 million land deal the maritime agency struck in 2016 with Los Angeles-based Lowe, which is building a luxury hotel where the now-demolished ports authority’s command post once stood. Charleston County, which transferred the land to the SPA in 1966, included language in a deed that gave it the right to take back the Fleet Landing site if the SPA ever stopped operating in the city of Charleston.
The two sides sparred for weeks. The county offered to remove the restriction for $150,000 but ultimately settled for a third of that amount, allowing the land sale to go through in 2017.
At the time, Fleet Landing had just a few years left on its lease, which Lowe took over in the land sale. The recent extension means the restaurant will be serving crab cakes, cocktails and other fare for an additional quarter-century in its scenic spot along Charleston Harbor.
Meanwhile, the SPA has moved its headquarters to a new building next to its Wando Welch Terminal in Mount Pleasant.
Lowe has named its 225-room hotel The Cooper and expects the lodging — located between Fleet Landing and the city’s Waterfront Park — to open by the end of 2023.
Johns Island transplant
It might take an arborist to pick up on the botanical nuances, but one of the natural amenities touted by one of North Carolina’s newest hotels took root on a South Carolina sea island.
Marriott International recently welcomed its first guests to its JW Marriott Charlotte in the Uptown section of the Queen City. The 23-story lodging is not far from Bank of America Stadium and the Charlotte Convention Center.
“The 381-room luxury hotel … offers discerning guests an urban retreat with inspired surroundings in which to relax and be present,” Bethesda, Md.-based Marriott said in written statement.
One of the defining features is the use of natural light, according to the global lodging giant.
Another is the surrounding Ally Charlotte Center, described as “a pedestrian-friendly” mixed-use development built by Crescent Communities.
“The full city block includes 750,000 square feet of office space, 30,000 square feet of ground-level retail, a 12,000 square foot public plaza with live oak trees relocated from Johns Island, South Carolina, a space framed by 14 ginkgo trees, and a 1,400-space parking garage,” Marriott said.
Actually, it’s one tree.
Crescent relocated the 16-year-old, 45,000-pound live oak with an 18-inch diameter to anchor a corner plaza at Tryon and Stonewall streets with the help of a 300-ton crane last fall.
“It’s expected to double in size over its lifetime and has the potential to live for several hundred years at Tryon and Stonewall,” the Charlotte-based developer said.
The real estate company added that it scoped out leafy candidates at other properties it owns, including the Palmetto Bluff resort near Hilton Head that it recently sold, but none worked out.
Crescent found a match when it heard from a company working at the Kiawah River development on Johns Island about a plot of trees that eventually were to be relocated to future homesites.
“These trees were too large to move with a spade and required a crane. Quite an expense for an individual homeowner,” according to Amy Bezanson, Crescent’s director of design and development.
“Some they plan to use for amenity areas, but there are 20+ trees out there, maybe more. So, it was a win-win for us to take one,” she added. “Otherwise, when that land is eventually developed, the trees are at risk. It’s awhile out, so it’s not like we ‘saved’ one about to be cut down … but inadvertently we gave it a new life. The tree wouldn’t have been able to grow as large as possible in its planted location. So we put it in a place where it can and where it won’t happen without intervention.”
Santee Cooper‘s board has bonded — and without any of those awkward team-building exercises.
The directors of the state-owned utility last week approved a two-part debt sale that raised about $430 million to be paid off over several decades.
Investors responded “overwhelmingly” to the bond offering, according to the Moncks Corner-based power and water provider.
The transaction is the first debt sale for Santee Cooper since the utility came under stricter state oversight in June. One of the changes required that certain bond deals be approved by panel of lawmakers, who gave the deal the OK despite some grumblings that no South Carolina law firms were tapped to work on the transaction.
CEO Mark Bonsall said the market response validated the utility’s debt-management plan and “achieves real savings for customers,”
The smaller of the two sales is to refund $174 million of existing loans and cut interest expense by $50 million.
The other $285 million will refinance variable-rate sort-term debt and pay for routine capital expenses.
About 30 large institutional investors placed orders for the debt, which Santee Cooper said carries an “all-in true interest cost” of 2.72 percent.
Santee Cooper’s creditworthiness was drawn into question after it and South Carolina Electric & Gas abandoned an expansion of the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in 2017 following years of delays and cost overruns. The doomed investment is costing electric ratepayers in the state billions of dollars already spent on the project.
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