Final phase of city's market renovations underway

CHARLESTON, SC - City Market Preservation Trust, LLC announced today that the final phase of the long awaited City Market re-development began Dec. 1 with the renovation of the 20,000 square foot Market Hall building located between Meeting and Church Streets.

Charleston City Council recently approved a $3.4 million bond issue to fund the final phase.  Phase 1 of The City Market renovation included the first three buildings that were funded earlier this year with a $2.1 million bond issue and was completed on time and under budget.

The Phase 1 renovation between East Bay Street and Church Street opened 100% occupied with over 200 merchants in occupancy and nearly 100 additional merchants on a waiting list and has been met with widespread enthusiasm from merchants and locals alike. The renovation included brick re-pointing, roof repair, new lighting and an open center aisle that dramatically improved traffic flow.  The bustling Market now features successful Night and Art Markets that have been well received with over 50 art vendors in occupancy.

Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. noted, "The City Market is now better than it has ever been. With the completion of this next phase, the Market will be a place where everyone comes to enjoy their favorite local merchants and celebrate this very special part of our city. We look forward to another phase as well done as the others!"

According to Barry Newton, General Manager, "The City Market will be a tremendous upgrade to the center of the City of Charleston.  This rising tide will lift all boats and will have a positive visual and business impact on the Historic District at no cost to the taxpayers.  It is anticipated that revenue from operations will cover all costs associated with the bond issue and renovation."

The Charleston City Market is comprised of four historic buildings stretching four blocks from Meeting to East Bay Streets and totals 32,981 square feet of rentable space.  The final phase between Meeting and Church Streets will be anchored by a dramatic, enclosed "Great Hall" that is expected to open 100% occupied and features notable local Charleston merchants including Historic Charleston Foundation, Wonder Works, M. Dumas and Sons, Charleston Shoe Company, Caviar and Bananas, and Jimmy Hagood's Food for the Southern Soul serving barbeque and shrimp and grits, as well as long time City Market merchants.

The Phase 2 renovations include the replacement of the roof and the installation of a skylight, which was donated by the Velux Company of Greenwood, SC. The "Great Hall" and new shops will be conditioned and will have exterior window displays. Additional work includes new restrooms, brick re-pointing, new lighting, new flooring, fans and an outdoor café area.

Newton also added, "We are extremely grateful for the leadership of Historic Charleston Foundation and the investment that they are making in The City Market as our anchor tenant."

Kitty Robinson, Historic Charleston Foundation, said, ""We are honored to be a strategic partner and staunch supporter of the newly restored historic City Market. Our retail presence will enable the Foundation to introduce more residents and visitors to the intrinsic value of preserving Charleston's rich cultural heritage."

Christine Osborne, owner of Wonder Works, Toys for All Ages, said "We are unbelievably thrilled to participate in providing a retail location in the newly renovated City Market.  This provides a wonderful opportunity to showcase the true wonder and magic that local Lowcountry businesses have to offer.  We are so proud to be part of this!"

"M. Dumas and Son, a 93 year old downtown Charleston retailer is very proud and pleased to be a part of the Great Hall in the renovated Charleston City Market", according to owner, David Dumas. "We are very excited about the redevelopment and renovation of The Charleston City Market and we believe it is a great opportunity to expand and grow our business and brand."

Hightower Construction completed Phase 1 of the renovation on time and under budget. The company has been selected to complete the final phase. Glenn Keyes of Charleston is the project architect.  David O'Neil, an internationally recognized public market expert, and Bob Gibbs, a nationally known retail consultant, have provided consulting services on the project.

City Market Preservation Trust, LLC is the Market Management Company. It is comprised of Charleston natives Hank Holliday, Lawrence O. Thompson and Steve Varn, all of whom have extensive experience in downtown historic renovation. Varn and Holliday have renovated more than 300,000 square feet of commercial space in Charleston's Historic District including The Planters Inn, Mercato, Hank's Seafood Restaurant, Peninsula Grill, Doubletree Guest Suites and The Andrew Pinckney Inn. Thompson, in various positions with the City Of Charleston has played a significant role in The Charleston Place and Saks 5th Avenue developments as well as the revitalization of Upper King.

Construction is expected to be completed in late spring, 2011.