5 Reasons Why Charleston, South Carolina Is A Great Place To Live

David MantekCharleston, South Carolina is one of the best-known cities due to the great quality of life that it offers. Anyone who is looking to move to and live in this city will be able to take advantage of a number of benefits. In Charleston South Carolina, you will be able to take advantage of affordable real estate, arts and culture activities, quality shopping and dining, healthcare, education and a nice year round climate. As a result, Charleston South Carolina is a great place to live whether you are retired or a young person.

The first reason why Charleston is a great place to live is because of its very affordable real estate. Most homes are priced at an average of $228,000, which is among the lowest in the nation. You will be able to purchase single family homes that are comfortable and spacious. They have also located in some of the safest neighborhoods around. Individuals and families who are looking to buy a home in Charleston will be able to get homes in residential areas as well as on the beachfront. Therefore, Charleston offers lots of high-quality real estate and this is part of what makes it a very desirable place.

Another reason why Charleston is a great place to live is the education that it offers. People who live in this locale will be able to attend a number of colleges including Charleston College. Senior citizens can also take advantage of education opportunities that will provide them with lifelong learning. With a number of educational opportunities, residents will have the opportunity to enhance their knowledge as well as prepare for rewarding careers. Therefore, Charleston provides quality education which will help others improve their knowledge and quality of life.

When living in Charleston, residents will be able to take advantage of some of the best healthcare around. There are a number of hospitals and physician offices in the city. As a result, people will be able to get the medical care they need in order to maintain their health. With close proximity to medical facilities, residents will have immediate access to getting the treatment they need on a regular basis.

Charleston offers residents a number of opportunities to experience fine dining and shopping. Residents can visit one of the many shopping centers to purchase items and take advantage of sales. With an abundance of places to shop, residents will have the opportunity to get quality merchandise with ease. As well as a number of shopping centers, Charleston also has numerous restaurants. These restaurants will provide residents and tourists with plenty of options to eat a variety of quality foods.

A very nice and mild climate is yet another reason why Charleston is a great place to live. The average temperature in the winter is only 50 degrees, which is among the warmest in the nation. Summer temperatures range between 70 to 84 degrees which provide residents with the comfortable weather during this time of the year. With a mild climate, residents will have yet another good reason to live in Charleston.

Pre-Revolutionary War James Simmons Estate Sold for the Second-Highest Amount Ever

37_MeetingThe pre-Revolutionary “James Simmons House,” which dates back to 1760s, served as the principal Confederate headquarters during the Civil War and it recently sold for the second-highest amount ever for a piece of residential property located in peninsular Charleston. The house has survived two wars.

Located at 37 Meeting St., the stately gray mansion sold for $7.51 million. The house is guarded by ornate iron gates, and peninsula residents Robert and Melissa Smith bought the home after deciding to relocate. Robert Smith, who founded and control one of the nation’s largest and most diversified television broadcasting companies, Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., purchased the 8,384-square-foot residence from by William and Nancy Longfield. The Longfields purchased the house for nearly $7.4 million in 2009, which was the highest ever in downtown Charleston. The estate sale comes in second to the sale of The Colonel John Ashe House at 32 South Battery at $7.72 million.

“This house is a historic gem in the heart of downtown Charleston,” said Lyles Geer of William Means Real Estate, according to The Post and Courier. “The rare architecture, beautiful gardens and storied past make this house a classic Charleston home.”

At one time, the James Simmons House was the most expensive house sold in Charleston (sold for $7.37 million in May 2009). It’s likely built for a lawyer by the name of James Simmons in 1760. The house was acquired by Robert Gibbes in 1775, following Simmons’ death. The home has changed quite a few times. Owned by the prominent former Colonial governor Robert Gibbes, antebellum writer Louisa Cheves, hotel owner Otis Mills, Gen. Pierre Beauregard, and Congressman Michael P. O’Conner. Also, during wartime, the estate was used as the headquarters of General Pierre G.T. Beauregard, commander of the Confederate forces in Charleston.

The pre-Revolutionary War home has Georgian-era floor plans, a central hall, and four formal rooms. The house was badly injured in an earthquake in 1886, sustaining $3,750 (equivalent to $100,000 today) worth of damage to the exterior walls and chimneys. The house underwent major restoration in 2000, acquainted it with the high-end market.

Charleston, South Carolina Clears $1 Billion in Commercial Real Estate Sales

BroadStreetCharlestonCharleston, South Carolina is a popular place along the east coast and voted one of the best places to live in the United States in 2014. With its 90 miles of beautiful coastline, vibrant culture, delicious foods and family-friendly atmosphere, it’s no surprise why this city had a breakthrough surpassing $1 billion in commercial real estate sales for the first time.

A smaller, yet stable market, Charleston, SC is seen by real estate investors as a place that is poised for continued growth. With its relation to the Atlantic ocean and reputation as a tourist destination, these factors alone are what make this city so desirable. A secondary signal and one that is very important are the effects and impacts of major American brands like Boeing and Mercedes-Benz opening new production plants. These companies aren’t opening small plants, these are expensive, massive operations that create jobs and opportunities to the surrounding areas. To provide you with specific numbers, Boeing’s Dreamliner plant has offered thousands of jobs since it opened back in 2011 while the Mercedes-Benz production plant for the next-generation Sprinter commercial van is expected to create 1,300 jobs.

So what does this all mean? Charleston, SC is on the map and becoming more recognizable outside of the beautiful coastal city it has been for so long. There are more demands for housing and jobs, and the city’s population is increasing as a whole, which triggers outside real estate investors to come in and purchase properties. According to a report by Colliers International, “there’s a growing demand for rental units and the consequent rise in occupancy and rental rates are driving investment in this segment.” These signs, coupled with a city that’s fundamentally robust, are good signs for continued growth for years to come.

 

South Carolina’s Economy Expected to Continue Growing

refugees-1020118_1920There’s more good news for the Palmetto State! According to a study conducted by economists at the Darla Moore School of Business, University of Southern Carolina, the state’s economy is ready to enter a seventh year of economic growth by July of this year. This is the first time since the Great Recession that there are more jobs with higher wages being created while other workers are collecting higher wages from their current employers. This combination is healthy fuel for consumer spending, and economists predict this trend will continue into 2017.

There are two markets driving the growth of our local economy. Thanks to advanced manufacturing in the state’s automotive and aerospace sectors, South Carolina and the southeastern U.S. now have one of the world’s fastest growing economies. The employment growth rate of the state has increased from 2.3 percent in prior years, to 2.8 percent today. This growth can be observed in many of our state’s industries. The sectors that have experienced the most growth includes professional fields like engineering, computer software design, and legal services. This is the first time this has happened since the Great Recession, and has significantly contributed to higher wages for both new and pre-existing jobs. Employment in the retail market will stay strong this year due to an increase in consumer spending, caused by an increase in discretionary income. South Carolina generally has a higher average personal income than the rest of the nation, and all of us will continue to reap the benefits. Personal income is expected to grow nearly 5 percent this year. This is higher than the national growth rate, which is expected to be 4 percent.

The real estate market has already started to feel the benefits of this economic growth. Last year, the number of homes constructed surpassed the number of homes remodeled. This is the first time this has happened since the Great Recession, and it is due to the increasing rate of employment and wages across South Carolina. As the research division director, Doug Woodward states, for the first time “in 28 years of forecasting our state’s economy, rarely have I seen our economy in such good shape and on such steady footing.”  Looking forward to the gains ahead of us!

Charleston Real Estate Market Named 2nd Hottest to Watch

pineapple-891984_1920When we talk about Charleston’s allure, we think about the antebellum architecture, and of course, the local Southern charm and hospitality, but, now Charleston’s real estate market is starting to draw new life to a city that was once a significant colonial seaport. Others have started to notice too, so as a result Charleston was recently named number 2 on Trulia’s “10 Hot Real Estate Markets To Watch In 2016.” And while Trulia may not have had our colonial landscapes in mind when they compiled this list, there’s no doubt that Charleston real estate is on the rise.

The list, put together by Trulia’s chief economist Ralph McLaughlin, examined each city’s affordability and job growth, in addition to other factors like vacancy rates, to determine ranking. Charleston nearly claimed the top honor, but was beat out by Grand Rapids, Michigan. McLoughlin says Grand Rapids claimed first place since it ranks as the 14th most affordable city in the U.S., and has experienced the nation’s 22nd strongest job growth over the past year. Charleston on the other hand, ranks in 6th place for job growth in country. While the rates of affordability and vacancy make have dropped our ranking on this list, Charleston is still a growing city that will achieve the rates to top any list.

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The Charleston real estate market is continually growing, as demonstrated by new complexes being built in the area. At the moment, there are two workforce housing apartment complexes in development. The two complexes will fulfill some of the demand for affordable housing, but there is no doubt that residential development won’t stop there. The Armada Development of Summerville’s president, John Gantt told The Post and Courier that they will build a $30 million, 300-unit rental complex in Lincolnville, and are beginning construction of a $35 million, 336-unit apartment complex nearby in Goose Creek. Nonprofit organization Atlantic Housing Foundation of Dallas is also bringing more affordable housing to the Charleston area The tax credits they receive as a nonprofit will also benefit future renters. These projects will be similar to others currently in development in the Charleston area, but the rents will be more affordable. Rents will be based on 80% of a median family of four’s income, within a five-mile radius. The developments will be a welcome solution to house Charleston’s growing workforce.

walking-68704_1920While Charleston may not top this list, there are still plenty of other things drawing new home-buyers to our city. As McLaughlin says, “There are lots of reasons why so many people love the Lowcountry. Charleston is a serious foodie destination, with 11 restaurants earning nominations for coveted James Beard Awards in 2015 alone, and the popular Charleston Wine + Food Festival, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2016.” Our list of attractions is only growing, as is the real estate market, so make sure you grab a piece before you miss your chance!

South Carolina: Open Arms

South Carolina has always been a place of unity, acceptance, and neighborly smiles. It should come as no surprise then that refugees from war-torn Bosnia have made their way to the comfortable safety and warm embrace of Charleston, and locals willing to open their homes and arms to those seeking respite.

David MantekRecently announced at a press conference, Obama stated plans to welcome 10,000 refugees as they escape the Syrian civil war. The conflict, burdened with dark tones of racial and religious entanglement, has cost over 22 million people their homes. Though the decision to bring over refugees, especially in the wake of the Friday the 13th Paris attacks, has been fraught with antipathy. Some governors going so far as to forbid refugees from making a home in their states.

However, spurred on by the urge to do kindness, several smaller counties have issued statements welcoming the refugees to their towns. Though there is more work to be done, several cannot resist the call to help those in need. Meeting the beleaguered travelers at the airport, Charleston families have demonstrated an incredible sense of empathy. Regardless of ethnicity, it’s not difficult to put yourself in the shoes of those who’ve given everything to survive just one more day at the expense of a lifetime’s worth of memories.

There’s little we as Americans can do to understand what those fleeing Syria have experienced. Though no stranger to violence, American citizens have never known the distant thump of constant bombardment or plastering over freshly strewn bullet holes in the front of your home. Luckily, these innocent people aren’t asking us to carry their burden, only help shoulder it.

 

Charleston Ranked #1

It has long been known that Charleston, South Carolina is where you go for culture and a good time. Whether taking one of the many walking tours around the city or exploring the dozens of art galleries, Charleston has more to offer than any little city in the United States. It’s exactly because of this that for the fifth year in a row, Charleston has won the greatest award you can give a bustling mini-metropolis.

David MantekThe reigning champion of the best small city award, Charleston has been voted the number one small city for tourists to enjoy and explore when visiting South Carolina. Based on a scale that considers all a city’s amenities, over 128,000 people participated in the voting. Local culture, friendliness, shopping and scenery are all taken into account during the voting process. Crushing their competition, Charleston has blown past New Mexico, Santa Fe, and Park City. Since 2011, Charleston has rested in this coveted position atop this list, and there are several contributing factors that make this feat a possibility.

One of the greatest draws to the America’s south is the rich and storied architecture. Buildings that date back to the century’s turn line the streets like common suburban houses in Charleston. Calling thousands every year to take a journey back to America’s past, The Battery is where many go to taste a piece of what life was like all those years ago. Bed-and-breakfasts, Civil War relics, and views of the water that will stop you in your tracks; It’s no wonder South Carolina is such a destination for so many.

Looking to continue the tradition of offering their visitors everything they could want, Charleston remains a staple of American tradition. Echoing a bygone era of antiquity and grace, this southern belle is sure to entertain any who are willing to wander into its loving embrace.

Best Hotels in South Carolina

Have you found yourself in South Carolina with no place to stay and plenty more to see? There are dozens of hotels scattered across this beautiful state just waiting to show you a pleasant evening, but collected here are the best. The top five hotels in all of South Carolina will not only supply all the comforts of The Palmetto State but will have you coming back again and again.

The Wentworth Mansion: A house of antique beauty and modern comfort, the Wentworth Mansion is where you go to escape the 21st century. Built in the 1800s, the decor echoes a bygone era with rich colors and a scent of old mahogany.  The Old World rooms are spacious, with fireplaces, whirlpool tubs, and a porch for taking in the summer moon. With evening brandies and sherries, the mood is one of relaxed elegance and refined southern charm.

The Restoration on King: Exposed brick with hardwood floors and simple furnishings, the Restoration on King has everything a traveler could want in a rest stop. Sitting on the historic King Street right near the center of town, this hotel is nestled in the beating heart of Charleston. Explore the comfort of Charleston, or stay in for a nighttime wine and cheese reception at the Restoration.

The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Gold Resort: Perched on the shores of the Atlantic, The Sanctuary is where you can go to escape the noise of life. As its name suggests, The Sanctuary is home to some of the world’s most renowned golf courses. Rooms sport massive marble showers with balconies looking out over the ocean or the rolling dunes. On-site activities other than gold include spas and swimming areas, making this hotel a destination unto itself.

David MantekThe French Quarter Inn: Flanked on all sides by the best of Charleston, The French Quarter was converted from a home but lost none of its comforts. Rooms come equipped with modern comfort in a classic setting, with carved bed frames and flat-screen television TVs. The French Quarter Inn offers a complimentary breakfast with a variety of choices to prepare you for a day of exploring Charleston, along with an in-house restaurant that comes highly praised by local food-critics.

Belmond Charleston Place: Another comfortable spot close to the center of Charleston, the Belmond is ideal for those looking to do some sightseeing. Surrounded by galleries and museums, this spot is ideal for embarking on day trips to explore Charleston. Pops of southern color adorn the interior of this charming spot and blend nicely when combined with the plush robes and soft beds. The spa and massive indoor/outdoor pool helps to take this southern-fried experience to the next level.

South Carolina Historical Society’s Collection Has A New Home

David Mantek - Fireproof BuildingThe South Carolina Historical Society (SCHS) is a non-profit founded in 1855 is the state’s largest and oldest archive of documents preserving South Carolina’s rich history. Its staggering collection of approximately 2 million documents has called the Fireproof Building in Charleston, South Carolina its home for almost a century.

Completed in 1827, the state of the art  fireproof structure was the first of its kind designed by Robert Mills solely for the purpose of housing and protecting public records. After all these years, the SCHS is moving its mounds of documents to a new home, about a mile away in the campus of College of Charleston.

The Fireproof Building, also known as the County Records Building, located in 100 Meeting Street is  is now being slowly emptied of its ancient collection and by late February will be unveiled in College of Charleston’s Addlestone Library. This move was brought on by two conflicting objectives of the Historical Society: to preserve the documents and to preserve the historical building and finally, the Society decided to move the archives from their longtime home.

It is estimated that shift will be completed by January 12 and the records, now being boxed up, are inaccessible till then.

Robert Mills, the famous designer of the Washington Monument and the U.S Treasury Building, designed the Fireproof Building in 1822. It was a revolutionary structure for its time with a combination of brick, brownstone and stucco making in inflammable, earning it the title of the ‘Fireproof Building.’ The building also has plenty of windows, flooding the rooms with ample natural light and reducing the use of candles.

The South Carolina Historical Society, however, did not begin leasing it until 1955 and moved completely in 1968.  John Tucker, SCHS’s Assistant Director, says that the Addlestone Library is a better choice in today’s time, providing advance climate and temperature controlled structure of the historical documents.

No document has mildewed yet in the Fireproof Building, but ideally the humidity levels for such documents should be in the range of 40-55, while its around 80 in the Fireproof Building and the Society’s Director of Archives and Research, Mary Jo Fairchild, recommends moving before the humidity level affects the documents.

Moreover, space issues in the old Fireproof Building necessitated the move as much as the humidity levels and the newly-renovated Addlestone Library, which opened in 2004, provides a solution for both of these issues.

After February, the library will become one of the major research libraries in South Carolina’s history, Southern history and Atlantic world history. The Society will retain ownership of the documents and will keep its office and other artifacts in the Fireproof Building.

The Society also has ambitious intentions for the Fireproof Building, with plans to turn in museum-like in motion. For full article on South Carolina Historical Society’s renovation and relocation plans, click here.

What to do in Charleston

We know that Charleston is the friendliest city in the country.  But what else does this place have to offer?

Quite a lot actually.  No matter where you came from in the United States it is likely you’ll find something to love about Charleston.  A recent Huffington Post article talked about some of the best places for you to visit while in the city.

davidmantek_whattodoKnown for its food, Charleston evinces some of the best dishes in the country.  The south is plentiful with fantastic ingredients and more and more the chefs of Charleston are putting those fresh finds on the plate in a delicious way.

The article suggests to swing on over to Butcher and Bee when you’re in the city to get a hold of a double cheeseburger that is to die for.  Butcher and Bee has all of the classics you could expect but they are put out in a gourmet fashion and the results are amazing.  Also on the menu you’ll find fried chicken, another southern staple, sausages and Carolina Trout among others.

After loading up at Butcher and Bee, why not find a place to take a rest and maybe curl up with a good book while you’re at it?  Head on over to Blue Bicycle Books, a boutique book store that the article states is a place, “will make you wish every day was a rainy one so you could explore the store for hours and curl up in a comfy chair.”

If books aren’t your thing why not check out some of the city’s shops?  Some recommendations would be Library by Lauren Lail where you can find vintage pieces with a modern spin.  Or you could head to Dandy for a similar style complete with a custom styled head piece.

As previously mentioned, there is something for everyone in Charleston and you don’t even have to look very hard to find it.