Is business moving from lower to upper King Street downtown?

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - It has been dubbed the "King Street shuffle," and now includes the closing of Vickery's Bar and Grille earlier this week.

Some King Street businesses are changing things up on an avenue known around the world for its high-end shopping destinations. For decades, the place to be on King Street was an area known as "Lower King," but business is moving north.

Fifteen new stores, restaurants and businesses have opened up between Calhoun Street and the crosstown in the past 18 months. Developers say it is not just about cheaper rent.

"It's about finding spaces that can be beautifully renovated," said Gregg Hoffman of the King Street Management Group.  "There are lots of options for [store owners] that want to move in to vacant spaces and change it to what they will."

Hoffman says that the growth on Upper King Street is similar to that of East Bay Street in the 1970's, a time when warehouses and vacant lots became top rated restaurants and exclusive shopping destinations.

"By creating, essentially, "new areas" of town, business owners are encouraging all sorts of growth," said Hoffman.  "People will hear about the new shops and want to come visit.  This creates revenue, and tax dollars, and makes the city that much stronger."

A statement released from management at Vickery's seems to agree.  Representatives that potential plans to relocate the now defunct dining destination -- with an 18 year history on Beau fain, or "lower" King Street -- will likely include the prospective of an area well north of Calhoun street.

In Hoffman's opinion, such a move may mean a substantial increase in revenue as the restaurant, and area, cater to college students, working adults and retired folks alike.

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