We ask the same 10 questions to very different members of Charleston’s diverse community. This week we met with West Of Publisher/ Editor Lorne Chambers.
1. If you’re not from Charleston originally, where are you from and when did you relocate here?
I was born in Pittsburgh, Pa. but moved to South Carolina when I was 10. So I became pretty southernized pretty quick. But I still bleed black and gold. I was raised in the small town of Greenwood, S.C. until I came to the College of Charleston in 1995. After that I had a brief stint on the Gulf Coast of Florida before relocating back to Charleston and have been here ever since.
Did you go to college, and if so, where?
Yes. I attended the College of Knowledge (aka College of Charleston — Class of ’98)
Occupation, employer, and what your role entails?
Newspaper publisher. I started West Of, a weekly community newspaper for the West Ashley region in 2005. I wear a lot of hats, but mostly handle the editorial side of the business. My wife Lindsey handles the sales side of things. In 2015 she and I purchased the Folly Current, a monthly newspaper for Folly Beach.
How does your company and/or your role affect the community?
I like to think we have a big impact on the communities we cover. The two papers I own cover their respective parts of town exclusively. So we do our best to inform the community of what’s going on from a governmental level to who is playing Saturday night at the bar down the street. Because we are hyper-focused on these communities, I think we have a great responsibility to them.
5.Favorite part of your job?
Putting the puzzle together. I look at every issue like a puzzle — I have this space for news, this space for sports, dining, arts, etc. Of course, it all starts with the ads, and then you have to piece it all together from there. I like the challenge of it together every week.
What area of Charleston do you live in and why do you love it?
I like to think I have dual citizenship. Since I am so ingrained in both West Ashley and Folly Beach, I have to be a citizen of both if I’m to cover either properly. I lived on Folly Beach for eight years until this June when Lindsey and I bought our first house together in West Ashley. It is an exciting time for West Ashley with all the revitalization and growth. So it’s great to be right in the thick of it. But we still are rooted in the Folly community and keep an office there. Folly is a special place, so that is still where I “hang out” the most because I love the bars, restaurants, and people.
Who’s your most-loved local venue/cultural excursion and why?
I’m a beer snob, so I’m super excited about Charleston’s booming brewing industry. I also love that as the laws change, these breweries are becoming gathering places. There are four new breweries slated for West Ashley in 2017, so I look forward to hanging closer to the house when they open. But Folly Beach is my spot. The owners of all the bars and restaurants are not only our clients, but our close friends. So we love just bouncing around Center Street and down the side roads and grabbing a bite, hearing some music, or just having a drink.
Also, before I started West Of, I was the music editor at Charleston City Paper, so I love live music and try to see it whenever I can. I’m really excited about what the Charleston Music Hall has been doing lately with their booking and Alex who owns the Pour House is an old friend of mine, so I like to catch as many live shows there as I can as well.
What’s your go-to local dining or takeout spot, and what do you like to order?
This is a tough question. Charleston is overflowing with amazing places to eat. But whether I’m in town or visiting somewhere else, I always try and seek out small, hole-in-the-wall spots where you’d never expect creative food offerings but will find them. On Folly, Jack of Cups, Chico Feo, and ’Wich Doctor are three prime examples. In West Ashley, Voodoo Tiki Bar is a good example. I’m also a sucker for South Carolina BBQ. I went to Texas recently and ate so much brisket that I literally can’t touch the stuff right now. Maybe I’ll come around to it again, but for now, give me a good pulled pork sandwich with mustard sauce. We have some real good ones in West Ashley too — I could eat Home Team BBQ every day (and almost do), but also love what Anthony is doing over at Swig & Swine, and it’s still hard to beat a classic Bessinger’s BBQ sandwich.
But if we really want to treat ourselves, we don’t mess with all the fancy downtown spots, we head to Mondo’s Italian. It’s a tiny, unassuming spot in a strip mall next to Sonic on James Island. But it has the best Italian food in town, in my opinion. The owner is a great guy and the service is always good. We go there often, but it’s always a treat.
Favorite Charleston day-trip destination?
I’m always amazed by the diversity and beauty we have right here in our backyard. Spending the day at Middleton Place is always a nice getaway. Just walking around the gardens and along the river is a special experience. We often try to parlay our Middleton days with a special dinner or beer tasting they’re hosting or a stay at the Middleton Inn. Besides Middleton, a short trip down the road to Botany Bay in Edisto is a perfect day trip. Its natural beauty is stunning.
10. If you could live anywhere in the world other than the Lowcountry, where would that be?
My wife and I have a secret spot along the Pacific side of Costa Rica. It’s not where all the American surfers go; it’s 45 minutes up a dirt road from the beach to a completely secluded spot in the mountains called Rancho Tranquilo. There are three tiny “ranchos” or palm-thatched huts up on stilts in the middle of the rainforest with literally nothing around but monkeys, toucans, and sloths. Most peaceful place I’ve ever been. We’ve been a couple times, so I suppose if I had to live anywhere other than here, that would be it. There or Chiang Mai, Thailand. A magical little city in the mountains of northern Thailand. Food is amazing, people are friendly, and there’s a just a chill vibe everywhere you go. Kind of like Folly Beach if it were in the mountains of Northern Thailand.
dunes properties of Mount Pleasant is pleased to welcome the agents of Places, LLC to our family of professional Realtors®. We have combined to offer expanded services to clients throughout the Charleston, SC area, and most specifically in Mount Pleasant, SC where Places has been a leader for years.
Chris Anderson, Broker-in-Charge of the Places group says “dunes properties is an established, luxury-oriented real estate firm that consistently ranks in the top 10 in sales in the Charleston market, so we are confident this move will expand our marketing scope and greatly benefit our clients in the Mount Pleasant/East Cooper/Charleston markets.” Laurie Thornhill, Anderson’s long-time partner in Places agrees. “I feel certain that our level of service, professionalism and expertise will only be elevated with this new integration with dunes properties.”
We are currently constructing an office at 835 Coleman Boulevard for our corporate staff and growing group of Mount Pleasant, SC agents. The Places group will remain at their current office at 400 Hibben Street in the Old Village through the end of this year. The majority of the team will be joining us in the Coleman office once construction is complete in early 2017. Several others have chosen to work out of The Real Estate Studio, our office at 214 King Street in the heart of Charleston, SC’s historic shopping district. Both offices are under the leadership of Broker-in-Charge Catherine Parker.
“We are very pleased to further expand our presence into Mount Pleasant,” says dunes properties’ President Randy Walker. “It’s no surprise that Mount Pleasant is growing very quickly. We are so happy to welcome this group of agents who have served this area for years and have consistently represented buyers and sellers in the area’s most prestigious neighborhoods.”
8/4, 8/11, 8/18-Rockin’ the River is a family and pet-friendly summer concert series that takes place at the beautiful and historic Riverfront Park in North Charleston. Admission and parking are FREE. Gates open at 5:30, band takes the stage at 6:30 and ends at 9:30. Food trucks, beer and wine vendors and a kid’s zone adds to the fun.
8/10–Grammy award winner Ray LaMontagne will be live at the PAC in North Charleston. Ray will be touring in support of his sixth studio album, Ouroboros. Concert starts at 7pm. Tickets on sale now.
8/27–Hot Nights & Holy City Dinner. Enjoy the pairings of summer seasonal beers from Charleston’s Holy City Brewing with summer seasonal dishes from the Middleton Place Restaurant. The event is scheduled for 6-9 p.m. in the air-conditioned Middleton Place Pavilion.
8/27–The 17th annual Thrivent Financial Race for The ARK is Aug. 27 in downtown Summerville. This 5K run/walk raises money for The ARK in its work providing comprehensive support services to families living with Alzheimer’s or related dementia.
8/30–Join famed cookbook author, Nathalie Dupree, as she signs copies of her cookbook, Southern Biscuits, at Mercantile and Mash from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nathalie Dupree is an author, chef, and cooking show host whose work has focused on American Southern cuisine
REGIONAL REAL ESTATE SALES
CHARLESTON, SC—(December 10, 2015) 1,029 homes sold in November in the region at a median price of $246,000 according to preliminary data released today by the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors® (CTAR). In November 2014, 987 homes sold at a median price of $222,067.
Year-to-date data shows that sales volume is 14% ahead of where it was last year, with 14,758 sales through November 2015 and the regional median price has increased by 5.3%, currently $228,000. Through November 2014, 12,933 homes had sold at a median price of $216,352.
- Upper Charleston Peninsula
- Downtown Charleston
- Mount Pleasant (below IOP connector)
- Mount Pleasant (above IOP connector)
- Folly Beach
- Isle of Palms and Wild Dunes
- Sullivans Island
- Kiawah Island
- Seabrook Islands
- Daniel Island
We’re pleased to welcome the staff and agents of GQRE. Our companies have combined to offer expanded services to clients throughout the Charleston area. “This opportunity is exciting,” said Jay Dixon, Partner for GQRE. “By teaming with dunes properties, we will be able to expand our agents’ markets and utilize the wide range of dunes properties’ proven services from their four office locations.”
Under the agreement, GQRE’s staff and agents will be joining dunes properties. Their current office on Highway 17, in the heart of Mount Pleasant, will be rebranded as dunes properties of Mount Pleasant.
“We are very pleased to expand our presence into Mount Pleasant,” says dunes properties’ Director of Marketing, Traci Magnus. “The area is one of the fastest growing along the Charleston Coast, and we welcome this group of professional agents who specialize in Mount Pleasant.”
GQRE’s Broker in Charge, Catherine Parker, will continue her management responsibilities for the Mount Pleasant Office under the dunes properties brand.
Welcome agents and staff of GQRE! We’re so happy you’ve joined the dunes family.
The explosive growth of Charleston, S.C., has heated up the real-estate market on nearby Sullivans Island, a laid-back beach town.
The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about the enduring popularity of Sullivans Island. This historic beach town has long been a well-kept secret among South Carolinians, but with the growth of nearby Charleston, the quaint community has become exceedingly popular. Homes sales in 2015 have already hit historic numbers catching the eyes of international buyers. The island’s allure is due, in large part, to a handful of ordinances passed over the past 30 years that have blocked the development of high-rise condos and the kind of spring break-style debauchery that has plagued other East Coast beach towns. Sullivans Island still posses the calm, cozy lifestyle so many enjoy. “Mayberry by the Sea” does not come cheap , however, the median sale price for this area is $1.4 million.
Whether you are looking for a simple life by the sea or simply a fantastic getaway home, Sullivans Island is the place for you! Stop by our Isle of Palms office to find out more about this sleepy beach town and what properties are currently available. Below are some of our current listings, or you can view what’s for sale on the entire island with our map module at the bottom of the post.
1738 Ion Ave | 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, 4,000 sq ft | $2,375,000
Listed by Tim Reese
1608 Atlantic Ave | 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, 3807 sq ft | $1,789,000
Listed by Mark Mitchell
2618 Middle Street | 4 bedrooms, 4 baths, 3148 sq ft | $2,449,000
Listed by Tim Reese
1741 Atlantic Avenue | 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 2969 sq ft | $1,025,000
Listed by Betty Poore
Map of Sullivans Island Properties Currently For Sale:
Last night, City Council members deliberated on the proposal of a 4,500 residential development in the Bees Ferry area of West Ashley. According to William Joy of WCSC, The Long Savannah Project was approved and will cover 3,000 acres, 1,200 of which will be used for homes and 400,000 square feet will be used for retail and office space.
The approval of this major residential project is great news for the people who live in West Ashley, myself being one of them. The community is really hoping this area is going to be revamped and this project should show everyone that West Ashley is on track to developing for people that are moving to the area.
Traffic studies done on this project show that the entire area will be gridlocked, along Bees Ferry and Glenn McConnell (didn’t the Bees Ferry construction just end?!), but this should be a small price to pay for the major development.The project was originally approved in 2007, but was foreclosed on. We should expect to see around 500 homes in the next two years and the entire project to be complete in the next 20.
Charleston residential real estate saw a great year in 2014, with a 9% increase in sales volume and a 5% increase in median prices. A total of 14,253 homes sold last year in the Charleston metro area, with the downtown Charleston peninsula and Folly Beach seeing the most median price growth, while Kiawah/Seabrook and James Island were some of the most active subsections of the Lowcountry, according to the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors®. In December 1,270 homes sold at a median price of $202,870. 2015 CTAR President, Matt DeAntonio, gave a great outlook for 2015, stating that “we expect to see sales volume and prices continue to grow.” While inventory remained low, 12% lower than in 2013, some notable changes in the market from 2013 to 2014 included a 17% increase in single-family home sales and that distressed sales continued to decline significantly.
Click on Area for Detailed Analysis
Sales continued at a steady pace in October, and are more than likely on track to end the year with nearly 8% more sales than 2013, according to the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors®. Compared to last October, where 1,047 homes sold at a median price of $189,900, this year 1,212 homes sold at a median price of $215,000. Inventory is down, which is not unusual given the holiday season. According to CTAR President, we will more than likely see inventory increase once builders in the area complete development in the suburban areas.
Click on Area for Detailed Analysis
Sales continue to grow in the Lowcountry and were ahead by 6% this September compared to September 2013. The tri-county area passed 10,000 home sales in September with the help of significant sales gains from Dorchester and Berkeley counties, according to the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors®. Additionally, the median sales price rose from $205,000 to $214,500. This increase in activity indicates a healthy and sustainable level of growth. 2014 CTAR President Corwyn Melette noted that with more companies moving to Charleston, we can also expect to see more jobs and investing in the Charleston region.