Charleston firm betting on Upper Meeting Street gets OK for two more hotels

By Emily Williams ewilliams@postandcourier.com Nov 4, 2018 Updated 14 hrs ago

At a triangular lot where Meeting Street, Morrison Drive and Mount Pleasant Street converge, developer Sunju Patel of the Charleston-based Montford Group imagines a new “architectural landmark”: the area’s first flatiron building.

The odd-shaped parcel, currently empty except for a faded gas station sign and a small vacant structure, sits on a stretch of Upper Meeting Street that’s just shy of up-and-coming.

The Montford Group, or TMG, has hitched its star to the upper peninsula. The firm, which Patel formed with Charleston native Jessica Reid in 2017, is developing five properties along Meeting Street, including three lots where they plan to build hotels.

At City Council’s last meeting, it moved to add two parcels, at 547 Meeting and 810 Meeting to Charleston’s accommodations overlay zone, which kicked plans for the hotels into higher gear, Patel said.

At 547 Meeting, now home to a one-story warehouse, Patel wants to cater to visitors who need affordable rooms but want to stay close to the action downtown. TMG paid $1.1 million for the 0.26-acre property earlier this year, according to Charleston County land records.

The 105 to 110-room hotel would put a strong focus on technology, he said. They would likely ditch the front desk in favor of making the bar the center of service and have employees dress in jeans and T-shirts.

The hotel at 810 Meeting would be more upscale but not “luxury,” he said. The about 140 rooms would be somewhat larger, and the first floor would include an area with the vibe of a co-working space.

At the property farthest south, 510 Meeting, the group plans to build
the Grace Hotel. It’s waiting to move forward on that property, Patel said, as the city develops plans for the Lowcountry Low Line, a proposed urban park which would neighbor the hotel.

Charleston City Council voted to add 810 Meeting Street, outlined in the map above, to the cityʼs accommodations overlay zone. City of Charleston Department of Planning, Preservation & Sustainability.

Patel, whose first experience in the Charleston area’s hospitality industry was at 21, working nights at his uncle’s Econo Lodge (he moved to the city in 1999, graduated from the College of Charleston and has worked here since), said he feels confident the gap in development on Meeting will fill in soon.

Already, between the two TMG properties, a dual-flagged nine-story Aloftand Element hotel is in progress at 600 Meeting St. Its design, which also includes retail, office and dining space, received final approval from the Board of Architectural Review last year.

Extension, please
Three Charleston hotel projects are asking the city’s Board of Zoning

Appeals for one-year extensions.

The first is the 100-room, five-story hotel slated for 7 Calhoun Street in theGadsdenboro Park mixed-use development near the S.C. Aquarium. A 76-unit condo complex, the Gadsden, was recently completed across the street from the site.

The name “The Brak” has been trademarked for the hotel, which is affiliated with Starwood Hotels’ Tribute Portfolio, a “soft” brand which serves as an umbrella over a group of independent hotels.

The developers for a hotel at 246 Spring St., formerly the site of an Arby’s

restaurant, are also asking for a year-long extension. In 2015, the Board of Architectural Review deferred Bennett Hospitality’s plans for the five- story hotel. Plans had been rejected by the board the year before.

The lot between the Holiday Inn and Waffle House on Savannah Highway is set to become a 150-room hotel. Owner Riverview Ventures LLC is requesting the one-year extension.

The board meets Tuesday at 5:15 p.m. on the first floor of the Gaillard Center.

Jessica Reid