Archive for July, 2008

Jul
28

Charleston Office Market Shows Mild Upturn

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July 28, 2008

By Katy Stech – The Post and Courier

Across the country, slow-selling homes have led to empty offices as the commercial real estate market reflects the economic downturn.

But thanks to the Charleston area’s growth and diversified economy, the local market has been somewhat sheltered from the pain.

New statistics from Colliers Keenan of Charleston found the amount of empty office space — called the vacancy rate — has actually decreased slightly during the past six months. The areawide vacancy rate at the end of the second quarter weighed in at 11.5 percent, about 2.3 percent less than the rate at the beginning of the year.

Principal Peter Fennelly said he hasn’t seen office rents fall suddenly, either, another sign of the market’s health.

The double-digit rate is still too high for many developers to begin new projects. Many prefer the vacancy rate to be less than 10 percent when beginning construction of more office space, Fennelly said.

“If you’re doing this business that I do, you’re watching it closely,” he said.

In other parts of the country, office vacancy rates have grown as real estate-related firms close or downsize. Parts of California are hurting because many mortgage companies set up offices there.

While some new space has become available for that reason locally, Charleston’s office space is tied more closely to development, Fennelly explained. The vacancy rate can change quickly when new office buildings open, which is what might have happened at the end of last year.

Other market-stabilizing factors are the area’s diversified economy and the fact developers don’t build skyscrapers that add large amounts of office space to the market at one time, he said.

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:
http://www.charleston.net/news/2008/jul/28/office_market_shows_mild_upturn48832/

Categories : Charleston
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Jul
27

Columbia’s "Richland Fashion Mall" on the Market

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Now known as Midtown at Forest Acres, this 757,000 square foot mall is available again. It has a checkered past, but I personally believe that it has a lot of potential. The asking price of $49.54 per square foot reflects the current occupancy of 59%. National Tenants include Belk, Barnes & Noble and Regal Cinemas.

We appraised this property awhile back – call or e-mail me with questions if I can help.

MBD
Categories : Columbia
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Jul
27

Atlantic Beach Developer Puts Fault on Lender

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July 26, 2008

By Robert Morris – The Sun News

A N.C. developer said he still plans an upscale resort for his section of the Atlantic Beach waterfront, blaming last week’s multimillion dollar foreclosure notice on the troubled South Florida lending group that handled the loan.

“I don’t want people to think we’re running out of money, broke, the land’s getting foreclosed on and we’re sailing away,” Matt Gadams of N.C.-based Seventh Street Properties said in a telephone interview Thursday. “We’re 100 percent behind this development. We’re going to get it done.”

The attorneys who filed the foreclosure complaint declined to discuss Gadams’ contentions, citing the pending court case.

In 2006, Gadams obtained a mortgage to buy the Atlantic Beach land through an affiliate of The Berman Group in Coconut Grove, Fla., which channeled millions of dollars from hundreds of individual investors into various commercial real estate loans.

Many of those projects were never completed and the loans went unpaid, according to the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. In December, alleging that The Berman Group was mismanaging investors’ money, that state agency gave control of the Berman holdings to a court-appointed attorney, Michael Goldberg of Fort Lauderdale.

Last week, a Greenville attorney representing The Berman Group and its investors filed notice of foreclosure proceedings against Gadams’ companies.

On Thursday, Gadams said he has been repaying his loans, and that the issues surrounding The Berman Group are to blame for the filing.

“This is a legal disagreement that’s going to be fought out in the courts,” Gadams said. “We’re going to file a counterclaim.”

ARTICLE SHORTENED DUE TO LENGTH….

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:

http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/news/local/story/533318.html
Categories : Myrtle Beach
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Jul
27

Great Falls Textile Mill Sale Leads to a Lawsuit

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July 27, 2008

By Charles D. Perry – Herald Online

The town of Great Falls is suing a Chester County commission over the sale of one of the town’s old textile mills, the town’s attorney says.

The lawsuit, filed Friday afternoon, alleges the county’s Forfeited Land Commission doesn’t have a viable contract to sell the Republic Mill No. 2 to Virginia businessman Don Saulsgiver, said Arthur Gaston, the town’s attorney in the case.

Gaston said the property may not have been sold properly and the county would be best served by dealing with all potential buyers, not just Saulsgiver.

Most town and county leaders want the commission to sell the site to Bob and Nancy Harllee, who hope to build a hotel and senior living center in the mill.

The Harllees’ project involves nearly $20 million. Saulsgiver has proposed spending about $2 million on his venture, which until recently involved a plastics recycling operation.

ARTICLE SHORTENED DUE TO LENGTH….

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:

http://www.heraldonline.com/109/story/707625.html
Categories : Chester
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Jul
27

Latest Census Numbers Show Golden Strip Still a Hub of Growth

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July 26, 2008

By Nathaniel Cary and Kelly VanLeeuwen – Greenville News

Led by Simpsonville, cities in the Golden Strip are rapidly adding residents, according to the latest U.S. Census numbers, but officials say the statistics don’t tell the whole story.

Simpsonville, Fountain Inn and Mauldin are among the fastest-growing cities in the state, and their officials say the growth really is more than the Census numbers show.

U.S. Census 2007 estimates rank Simpsonville first in population growth in Greenville County and 12th highest in the state among municipalities. It is the fifth-fastest growing municipality in the state for cities with populations of more than 10,000.

Census estimates place Simpsonville’s growth rate at 4.7 percent from July 2006 to July 2007. The city grew from 16,009 to 16,761 in the past year. More telling is the city’s continued growth rate. Since 2000 Simpsonville has grown 14 percent, adding 3,013 residents.

Even with the high growth rate, Simpsonville City Administrator Russell Hawes said the census figures lag behind the city’s actual totals.

“Our estimate of the city’s population currently is 18,550,” Hawes said. “The census has continually undercounted Simpsonville. We’re working with them directly to make sure the census has the correct dwelling unit information.”

The two Golden Strip cities of Simpsonville and Fountain Inn both ranked among the tops in the state in growing populations, according to the Census 2007 estimates, while Mauldin’s growth has slowed slightly.

ARTICLE SHORTENED DUE TO LENGTH….

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:
http://www.greenvilleonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080726/NEWS01/807260317/1004/NEWS01

Categories : Greenville
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Jul
27

Will Port Have Economic Impact On Area?

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July 27, 2008

By Alexis Garrobo – Beaufort Gazette

After almost 20 years of local, state and federal work, a $450 million bi-state port on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River is about nine years away from seeing its first container ship dock.

The port’s champions say it will boost the economy of Georgia and South Carolina and further position the area in the global shipping industry — a field marked for rapid expansion due to the $5 billion widening of the Panama Canal expected by 2015.

How much it will boost the area’s economy is a moving target. A market study that will show the economic impact is expected at the end of the month, said Bill Bethea Jr., the Joint Project Office vice chairman representing South Carolina. The office manages logistics for the port’s development.

“I don’t know (the economic impact). I know it’s going to be big. Some of the numbers, too, are going to bounce around on us because we need to think in terms of building a port that’s as modern as we can make it, and also in terms of transportation (such as railways and highways),” said Jim Balloun, chairman of the project office representing Georgia.

“It’s going to take a lot of money, but the preliminary work we’ve done is that it will be a profitable investment for both states.”

ARTICLE SHORTENED DUE TO LENGTH….

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:

http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/story/560772.html
Categories : Beaufort, Bluffton
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Jul
27

Gamecock Stadium Condos Auctioned At Reduced Prices

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Going once, twice – sold

July 27, 2008

By Kristy Eppley Rupon – The State

Ten condos sold for half-price at Carolina Walk condominiums by Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday before developers cut off the auction.

“My daddy always told me … activity breeds activity,” said Jimmy Rogers, one of the developers of the high-rise condominium complex across Bluff Road from the Gamecocks stadium. “That’s what we were trying to do and give somebody a great deal, too.”

Ten condos sold for between 36 percent and 58 percent off of the original asking prices, selling for an average of $238,750. The average asking price for the 10 condominiums that sold was $478,918. Developers also sold more than 30 tailgating spaces at deep discounts.

Developers could have sold up to 36 condos Saturday. But they cut off the sale after unloading the 10 they had pledged to sell regardless of bid prices.

An auction a year ago at the other high-rise development near the stadium led to the sale of 19 condos at 25 percent to 55 percent discounts. Developers at that auction sold 14 more than the absolute minimum of five.

ARTICLE SHORTENED DUE TO LENGTH….

LINK TO ARTICLES HERE:

http://www.thestate.com/local/story/472388.html

http://www.thestate.com/news-extras/story/472398.html
Categories : Columbia
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Jul
25

More Talks Set On Proposed Okatie Development

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July 25, 2008

By Jim Faber – The Island Packet

After a two-hour discussion Thursday about a 1,252-home development along S.C. 170 at Okatie, it became clear that more discussion was needed.

Developers of Okatie Village met with a Beaufort County Council subcommittee to hammer out details on issues ranging from school impact fees to how much should be shelled out for widening S.C. 170.

At the end of the meeting of the Development Agreement Subcommittee, all that was certain was that an agreement would be drafted for each of the three parcels in the development — Okatie Marsh, Osprey Point and River Oaks — and that the developers and their attorneys would submit draft agreements within 10 days, if possible, to county staff.

One issue was what fees will be paid to the Beaufort County School District. The county is asking for $6,000 per home and $2.50 per square foot of commercial development. The developers’ attorneys, Lewis Hammet for River Oaks and Osprey Point and Roberts Vaux for Okatie Marsh, said that fee is too high.

ARTICLE SHORTENED DUE TO LENGTH….

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:
http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/story/559288.html

Categories : Bluffton
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Jul
25

State Looks At Tax Credit for Apartments

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July 25, 2008

By Angelia Davis – Greenville News

The S.C. State Housing Finance and Development Authority will decide next month whether to award tax credits for eight multi-family developments proposed for the Upstate.

The developments are among 50 projects around the state being considered for the 2008 low-income housing income tax credit program.

Nationwide, projects such as those considered annually by the South Carolina authority are being canceled by developers because of a lack of equity. Some of the largest players, including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Bank of America, scaled back their participation in the federal government’s largest affordable housing tax-credit program.

Laura Nicholson, a spokeswoman for the South Carolina authority, said 82 Tier I applications were received for the program this year. Of those applications, nine were eliminated by the authority for either failing mandatory market study criteria or because the market analyst determined that there was no market for the proposed development.

She said the authority received 50 Tier II applications, “therefore, 23 developers chose not to submit a Tier II application of their own choosing.”

In June, the Greenville County Council denied a request by tax-credit applicant Foresite Properties LLC to rezone properties on Piney Mountain Road for a 72-unit apartment unit for senior adults.

Stan Palma of Forsite said the company is now looking for another site in Greenville for the project.

The low-income housing tax-credit program was created in 1986 and has financed the construction of more than one million below-market-rate apartments.

The program is designed to boost construction of below-market-rent apartments.

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:

http://www.greenvilleonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080725/BUSINESS/807250322/1001/NEWS01

Categories : Greenville
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Jul
25

Home sales decline in S.C.

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Drop in first six months of year is nearly 17 percent in Columbia area and 23 percent statewide

July 25, 2008

By Kristy Eppley Rupon – The State

A weakening economy, skyrocketing gas prices and a tightening credit market continue to drag down home sales statewide and in Columbia, local industry professionals said Thursday.

Home sales slipped nearly 17 percent in the Columbia area for the first six months of the year, compared with the same period in 2007, according to data released Thursday by the S.C. Realtors trade group.

Statewide, sales were down 23 percent in 2008.

Realtors’ confidence also has dipped as fewer buyers sign on for new homes. Even though this is the toughest real estate market in two decades, Columbia — with its stable job base — is doing better than most of the state.

“We do have a market,” said Jay Graham, who has owned Graham Realty in Columbia for 30 years. “It’s just not what it was, and sellers have to have a lot more patience now. It is a great time to be a buyer.”

Graham said the subprime crash took about 10 percent to 15 percent of the buyers out of the market and he doesn’t expect to see 2005 levels for a long time.

He said this is the slowest market he has seen since the double-digit interest rates of the 1980s.

Nationally, existing-home sales are down 15.5 percent for the year as of June, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday. New-home sales nationwide were down 40 percent as of May. June data will be released today.

ARTICLE SHORTENED DUE TO LENGTH….

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:
http://www.thestate.com/local/story/470707.html

Categories : South Carolina News
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Jul
24

Integra Realty Resources Acquires Greenville Real Estate Research Firm

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July 23, 2008

Integra Realty Resources – South Carolina has completed the acquisition of Greenville-based real estate research firm Property Data for an undisclosed price. The commercial and residential transaction research firm will be renamed Greenville Property Pulse and will operate in conjunction with the Greenville offices of commercial real estate appraisal firm Integra Realty Resources and residential appraisal firm IRR-Residential.

“Lenders, brokers, developers and appraisers have relied on Property Data reports for 30 years,” said Michael Dodds, MAI, CCIM, MRICS, who serves as Managing Partner of the both the Greenville and Columbia Integra offices. “We intend to build on original owner Fred Stuart’s reputation for quality research to provide an inexpensive alternative to national data services. Many businesses need reliable property research in order to make sound business decisions, and we’re going to provide just that.”

The previous owner, Susan Stillwagon, will remain with Greenville Property Pulse as Director of Research. “Susan is an incredible asset, and I am very pleased that she was interested in staying with the firm,” said Dodds. “With her assistance, we plan to expand the services currently offered.”

“Mike and I started talking about this acquisition over a year ago. I have no doubt that together we can grow the company to where it deserves to be,” stated Stillwagon.

As the oldest real estate research firm serving the Greenville market, Property Data’s research is invaluable. “My firm has been using this comparable sale data for years, so the acquisition just made sense. We’ll also be able to use historical data to analyze market trends,” said Dodds. “With over 15,000 land and improved sales in the current database, the amount of information we’re purchasing is mind boggling. We plan to slice and dice the data in many ways to provide reliable, ongoing real estate market trend information.”

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:

http://www.swampfox.ws/2008/07/23/integra-realty-resources-acquires-greenville-real-estate-research-firm

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BLOG NOTE:
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We are excited about this, and Greenville Property Pulse is offering a free report that can be requested at the website http://www.GPpulse.com/
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Some of the statistical analyses prepared with the Pulse data will be posted on this blog as well over the coming months. The 15,000 records can provide great insight into value trends in Greenville. E-mail me with any questions.
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MBD
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Jul
24

Myrtle Beach’s Kings Highway Gets A Little Attention

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July 24, 2008

By Lorena Anderson – The Sun News

Ever since Broadway at the Beach, Coastal Grand mall, Grande Dunes, Robert M. Grissom Parkway and The Market Common opened, Kings Highway has been a little overlooked.

Until today, that is.

A group of city officials, Coastal Carolina University professors, tourism researchers and others interested in the corridor’s future are getting together to talk about the possibilities.

Myrtle Beach Planning Department interns surveyed the road last summer and found there were about 30 vacant buildings and properties along Kings Highway, including the former Pavilion and Myrtle Square Mall sites. Another survey this summer shows things haven’t changed much, said city planner Diane Moskow-McKenzie.

Some buildings have been reoccupied, some vacated and some repurposed, Planning Director Jack Walker said, but as businesses have expanded and moved to larger venues – such as Broadway at the Beach – Kings Highway has stagnated.

“It’s the area where there has been the least development over the past 20 years,” said City Councilman Wayne Gray, who will be at this morning’s meeting.

On the agenda: The vacancy survey, the factors contributing to vacancies and the purpose of Kings Highway.

ARTICLE SHORTENED DUE TO LENGTH….

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:
http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/news/local/story/530876.html

Categories : Myrtle Beach
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Jul
24

Gated Community Planned Near BMW, Greer

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July 24, 2008

By Angelia Davis – Greenville News

All of the streets in the new Ellington Park subdivision bear the name of jazz greats.

But the only thing the community will have in common with those legendary jazz performers is the use of its natural gifts.

Developer Eric Hedrick said the community will seek to preserve its trees and ambiance at its site at South Bennetts Bridge and Thompson roads, near Greer.

It will be a gated community with 32 homesites, ranging in size from 0.57 acre to 0.81 acre, Hedrick said.

The lots, costing from the $70,000-range, all are on cul-de-sacs. Some are suited for basements and more than half are wooded.

Sheila Young, a realtor with Re/Max Foothills Downtown at the Hyatt, said homebuyers also have the option of signing up to use amenities in the neighboring Laurel Lake community. Laurel Lake has a swimming pool, tennis courts, and a clubhouse.

Homes in Ellington Park will likely be priced from $500,000 and up, Hedrick said.

She said the community’s proximity to Eastside schools, the airport, major intersections, Woodruff Road, and companies such as BMW make it an ideal place to settle.

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:
http://www.greenvilleonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080724/BUSINESS/807240308/1001/NEWS01

Categories : Greer
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Jul
24

Innovista Reeling In Big Firms

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New partners lining up tenants and promise to start 2 buildings in 4 weeks

July 24, 2008

By Jeff Wilkinson – The State

The new partners in USC’s Innovista research campus say they are close to signing leases with IBM as well as British business software producer Regus International.

Kale Roscoe of Detroit and Robert Heath of Philadelphia — who jump-started the University of Kentucky’s Coldstream research campus — also say they will start construction of the first of two long-awaited private research buildings in four weeks.

Talks also are under way with undisclosed local firms to move to the downtown Columbia research campus, USC officials said.

“The university wants to see action, and we want to do the work,” said Roscoe, who also helped develop the University of Michigan’s research campus. “You can rest assured that we will put the buildings up.”

ARTICLE SHORTENED DUE TO LENGTH….

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:
http://www.thestate.com/local/story/469716.html

Categories : Columbia
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Jul
24

Downtown Charleston Condo Plan Unveiled

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Developers hope to attract middle-class buyers

July 24, 2008

By Katy Stech – The Post and Courier

For years, developers have claimed run-down tracts of land in the Upper Meeting Street corridor, promising to transform the sites into luxury hotels and high-end residences.

To date, few of those projects have made it off the drawing board. But one is aiming be the exception by being one of the first out of the ground.

The Green on Meeting, a proposed five-story project of shops, offices and residential condominiums, is making its way through the city planning process. The developer, a group of Savannah investors organized under the name Meeting Street Developers LLC, plans to break ground on the year-long project by the end of 2008.

ARTICLE SHORTENED DUE TO LENGTH….

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:
http://www.charleston.net/news/2008/jul/24/downtown_condo_plan_unveiled48509/

Categories : Charleston
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