2 Meeting Street hotels, including Charleston’s 1st ‘flatiron’ building get design OK

Designs for two hotels planned for Charleston’s upper Meeting Street — including the first wedge-shaped or “flatiron” building to be built in the area — secured a key city approval last week. 

Both projects are from the Charleston-based Montford Group. CEO and founder Sunju Patel said the project planned for a triangular lot at 810 Meeting is a “rare opportunity” to create a defining building for the district. 

Inspiration for the nine-story hotel’s design was drawn from structures like the landmark Flatiron Building in New York City, the Flatiron City offices in Atlanta and the Flatiron Building in Asheville that was recently approved to become a hotel. 

Patel said the city’s Board of Architectural Review, which granted conceptual approval to both Montford projects Thursday, was “impressed and excited” about the plans for the odd-shaped lot where Meeting Street and Morrison Drive converge. 

The project is intended to be Montford’s flagship lodging. Patel has said they’re aiming for luxury that feels more casual than what visitors might find farther south in the Historic District

The lodging will be called the Thompson Hotel, Patel said, and will be part of Hyatt’s lifestyle portfolio. The building will be called the Montford Building

A hotel under the Marriott flag Moxy is planned for 547 Meeting St. The designs for the building got conceptual approval from Charleston’s Board of Architectural Review. Provided/The Montford Group/LS3P

The lodging planned for 547 Meeting will be South Carolina’s first Moxy Hotel. The lifestyle flag, which is described as Marriott’s “newest and edgiest affordable brand,” has small rooms, neon accents and large common areas.

Unlike most hotels, the check-in area and bar will be on the hotel’s sixth floor. The first floor would house a retail offering that would be open to the public. 

At its last meeting, the BAR gave permission to demolish existing one-story structures standing now on both Meeting Street lots. The buildings, which are vacant, were not found to be architecturally significant. 

Special exceptions to build hotels at both properties were already secured earlier this year. 


Condé Nast readers in the US and Europe name Charleston as a No. 1 city....AGAIN!

Charleston is just one year shy of a decade-long sweep. 

Now for nine years and counting, the city has been named a No. 1 destination by readers of Condé Nast Traveler. And for the first time, the magazine’s readers in the United Kingdom placed Charleston at the top of a list of preferred cities in the world outside of the U.K. 

The Holy City has also secured multiple No. 1 rankings at Travel + Leisure, Southern Living and Afar magazines. The Conde Nast reader survey is the longest-running in the travel industry, and it’s also the publication where Charleston has its lengthiest streak. (The city’s success with Travel + Leisure readers isn’t far behind at seven years with Charleston in the top spot.) 

Editor-in-chief Melinda Stevens said Charleston has “a bit of a glow around it” in the travel world, and particularly in the U.K., with a reputation for holding true to itself.

“No one seems to have just one layer in Charleston,” said Stevens, who has spent time exploring the city. “People have their fingers in many different pies, as we say, and it gives a richness to it. There’s a sophisticated ease.” 

Last August, Stevens became the magazine’s global editor when the publication combined its editorial teams for the U.S. and U.K. editions. 

Wedding at The Revelry in the Warehouse District 📸 by Matthew Pautz

Wedding at The Revelry in the Warehouse District 📸 by Matthew Pautz

Now, for the first time this year, responses from readers of both editions were merged into one compilation of preferred destinations, lodgings and other travel features, giving Charleston the new distinction of earning the top spot among global destinations not in the U.K. 

British travelers have long been the Holy City’s top demographic among visitors from overseas, but the relationship was heightened in the last year with the launch of nonstop British Airways service from Charleston to London’s Heathrow Airport.

The inaugural flight took off last April, and the airline’s initial commitment ends Oct. 24, but British Airways announced last week that the service would return again in the spring. 

Charleston started appearing in Condé Nast Traveler’s top 20 U.S. destinations in the early 1990s and has been climbing since then. 

Before Charleston’s reign, San Francisco held the crown for nearly two decades. 

When Charleston took the top slot from the Golden City for the first time in 2011, comedian Stephen Colbert gave the acceptance speech at a banquet in New York. The Charleston native and now CBS Late Show host spoke about the 4 million visitors who came to the area — a number that has since swelled to more than 7 million — and additional travelers the new ranking was likely to attract. 

Offices at the Lumberyard in the Warehouse District

Offices at the Lumberyard in the Warehouse District

That growth in visitation has prompted concern from locals as the city continues to stay in the spotlight each year. The idea of “overtourism,” or the strain that a high concentration of visitors in one destination can have on the community, has come the forefront as the number of total travelers worldwide has swelled. 

“I think this will become more and more pertinent. We need to be mindful that cities are not victims of their own success,” said Stevens. “I think it’s the responsibility of the tourists, too, to be respectful and contribute to the local economy in a meaningful way.” 

In Charleston, as visitor numbers have grown, so has the economic contribution from the industry. It’s estimated that tourism pumped more than $8 billion into the region’s economy last year. 

Explore Charleston CEO Helen Hill credits hotel development  downtown with getting the city into Condé Nast’s top 10 —  a range of options that includes boutique and luxury properties is necessary to gain acclaim from “discerning travelers,” she said — but attributes the nine-year streak to the city’s scores for friendliness and service. 

RAW 167

RAW 167

It’s no accident, either, that those scores usually make the difference for Charleston every year. Right around the same time the city started popping up on travel publications’ lists, Explore Charleston was starting to train the city’s hospitality staff. 

The practice, which consolidates training for hospitality staff and allows opportunities for workers to see some of the attractions tourists will likely be asking them about for free, is more common across visitors’ bureaus now but was rare at the time. 

Condé Nast’s rankings are based off each destination’s cumulative score, which is calculated from hundreds of thousands of online survey responses. The top rankings are often separated by just tenths of a point. Hill said the scores will often reflect major events or openings that year. 

When Sean Brock, the founding chef of the Husk restaurants, first won a James Beard Award, for example, the city’s point total for food and dining got a boost. 

The west and the southeast dominated readers’ rankings of the best small cities in the U.S. for 2019. South Carolina took two slots with Greenville in the Upstate at No. 9. Nearby Savannah came in fourth, just behind Alexandra, Va. 

Chicago, Minneapolis and Boston rounded out the top three, in order, for large U.S. cities. None of the chosen large U.S. cities list made the cut for the top 20 cities outside of the U.K., but two small cities in addition to Charleston, Santa Fe and Alexandria — ranked second and third on the U.S. list, respectively — cracked that list’s top 10. 

Our COO, Jessica Reid, to speak at CREW October Luncheon

Join us for our October Luncheon!


Please join us as we hear from Jessica Reid, Partner & COO of The Montford Group. Jessica will be discussing The Montford Group and their exciting developments in the Charleston area!



11:30am - 1:00pm

Networking at 11:30. Program will begin at noon.


Riley Park Club

360 Fishburne Street

Charleston, SC 29403


Learn More & Buy Tickets to attend this luncheon. Registration for this event will close at noon onFriday, October 11th. Space is limited!  




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.

Charleston Ranks #4 for thriving cities in America!

Americans are flocking to these 10 cities where jobs are plentiful and businesses are thriving

Emmie Martin@emmiemartin 

11:57 AM ET Thu, 13 Sept 2018

In many American cities, businesses are thriving. Not only are new ventures popping up, but they're able to sustain growth and create jobs.

CNBC Make It identified 10 cities where the number of businesses is increasing and the number of paid employees is going up using data from personal finance site MagnifyMoney's list of America's biggest "boomtowns."

Out of the top 50 "boomtowns," here are the top 10 places in the U.S. with the strongest business growth over the past five years. This category took into account number of establishments, number of paid employees per pay period and total receipts for non-employers.

10. San Antonio, Texas

Business growth score: 64.5

Increase in number of businesses between 2011 and 2016: 11 percent
Increase in number of paid employees between 2011 and 2016: 17.4 percent
Final score: 55.7
Overall rank: 9

9. Denver, Colorado

Business growth score: 65.3

Increase in number of businesses between 2011 and 2016: 12.3 percent
Increase in number of paid employees between 2011 and 2016: 18.9 percent
Final score: 58.6
Overall rank: 6

Denver's economy is solid, and it has a strong, educated workforce. It also has the nation’s fourth-largest concentration of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) employees.

8. Fort Myers, Florida

Business growth score: 66.8

Increase in number of businesses between 2011 and 2016: 16.1 percent
Increase in number of paid employees between 2011 and 2016: 22.6 percent
Final score: 49.2
Overall rank: 17

7. Boise, Idaho

Business growth score: 67

Increase in number of businesses between 2011 and 2016: 11.8 percent
Increase in number of paid employees between 2011 and 2016: 18.8 percent
Final score: 56
Overall rank: 8

6. Orlando, Florida

Business growth score: 67.6

Increase in number of businesses between 2011 and 2016: 15.2 percent
Increase in number of paid employees between 2011 and 2016: 16.9 percent
Final score: 51.2
Overall rank: 14

5. Raleigh, North Carolina

Business growth score: 70.8

Increase in number of businesses between 2011 and 2016: 12.8 percent
Increase in number of paid employees between 2011 and 2016: 20.6 percent
Final score: 67.7
Overall rank: 3

4. Charleston, South Carolina

Business growth score: 71.7

Increase in number of businesses between 2011 and 2016: 13.5 percent
Increase in number of paid employees between 2011 and 2016: 17 percent
Final score: 66.4
Overall rank: 4

3. Nashville, Tennessee

Business growth score: 72.9

Increase in number of businesses between 2011 and 2016: 10.4 percent
Increase in number of paid employees between 2011 and 2016: 20.6 percent
Final score: 60.7
Overall rank: 5

2. Austin, Texas

Business growth score: 93

Increase in number of businesses between 2011 and 2016: 21.1 percent
Increase in number of paid employees between 2011 and 2016: 23.7 percent
Final score: 87.8
Overall rank: 1

1. Provo, Utah

Business growth score: 95.1

Increase in number of businesses between 2011 and 2016: 19.7 percent
Increase in number of paid employees between 2011 and 2016: 29.6 percent
Final score: 75.7
Overall rank: 2

MagnifyMoney analyzed how the 100 largest metro areas in the country changed over a five-year period (between 2011 and 2016) across three categories: population and housing; workforce and earnings; and business growth. Cities could earn a possible score of 100 in each category, which were then averaged together for the final ranking. You can read the full methodology here.

TMG. Acquires Fine Rugs of Charleston

The Montford Group acquires 1523 Meeting Street Road formerly known as "Fine Rugs of Charleston" in Downtown Charleston (NoMo). Plans for the building have not been discussed but simply will be kept with the existing tenants. We love this building and not sure what the future holds or what our plans will be but for right now keeping it retail/office is the highest and best use. This area will be the new "Downtown Business District" in the next ten years with the city approvals to go twelve stories. We are excited for the next chapter of Charleston in this area.