Commercial real estate brokers in St. George, SC

  • Property Management
  • Construction Management
  • Construction Management
  • Investment Analysis
  • Property Development
  • Property Development
Commercial real estate
Commercial Real Estate St. George, SC

With an average of 230 days of sunshine each year, a low cost of living, and endless recreational activities, Charleston is a joy to call home. As the second most popular place to live in the U.S., metro Charleston is booming, not only with new residents but with new construction and property investment opportunities too. But with the Tri-County's rapid rate of growth comes increased real estate demand and complexity. That's especially true for commercial real estate transactions. According to CoStar, near-zero vacancy rates and short supply have forced rents and sales to reach record highs. At the same time, online medical and grocery purchases, along with last-mile delivery needs, have driven a new desire for industrial space.

It's safe to say that there is a lot of opportunity on the table for commercial real estate sellers and investors in South Carolina. But capitalizing on that opportunity without the proper market knowledge, relationships, or risk analysis can actually be counterproductive to your goals. That's where Coldwell Banker Commercial Atlantic's commercial real estate brokers in Charleston, SC, come into play.

As experts in the commercial real estate industry for more than 37 years, our brokerage provides the highest level of service to clients in today's rapid, constantly-changing business climate.

Service Areas

The Coldwell Banker Commercial Atlantic Difference

At Coldwell Banker Commercial, we pride ourselves on having local power and a global presence. Our clients entrust their complex and lucrative commercial real estate deals to us because they understand the value of working with brokers who are familiar faces within the community. On any given day, you could be standing next to one of our brokers at a grocery store or local restaurant. As your friends and neighbors, we're proud to call the Lowcountry home. Though we have local roots, our resources and expertise are backed by a global network. That power gives our commercial real estate clients peace of mind, knowing they have access to a dynamic and diversified brokerage of highly-trained and educated agents.

 Commercial Real Estate Brokers St. George, SC

From general commercial leasing services and property management to investment guidance and new property site selection, our team works tirelessly to exceed your expectations and meet your goals. Whether you're looking to buy, sell, lease, or develop, our commercial real estate brokerage in St. George, SC provides the up-to-date advice and time-tested market knowledge needed to facilitate any commercial real estate transaction, large or small.

Some of the commercial real estate specialties we focus on in South Carolina include:

  • General Brokerage and Commercial Real Estate Leasing Services
  • Commercial Investment Analysis
  • Commercial Property Management
  • Commercial Property Development
  • Commercial Construction and Project Management
  • Disposition, Acquisition, and Work-Out Properties

At the end of the day, our commercial brokers and agents aren't satisfied until you're a happy customer. That's why every service and decision we recommend is made with your best interests in mind.

Commercial Real Estate St. George, SC

Why Hire a Commercial Real Estate Broker in St. George, SC?

Perhaps you're in a situation where you need more space for a growing business. Maybe, instead, you want to capitalize on low-interest rates and buy a commercial real estate investment property to bolster your portfolio. Whatever your needs may be, whether as an investor or a small business owner, your goals are probably the same: lock in the best value and negotiate optimal terms for leasing, buying, or selling. When it's all said and done, you want to minimize expenses and maximize your ROI.

Unfortunately, commercial real estate is complex by nature. Given today's ever-changing real estate landscape and the challenges of our economy, working with a commercial real estate agent is the savviest way to save money and lessen the likelihood of making a poor investment.

That's because the very best commercial real estate brokers, like those at Coldwell Banker Commercial Atlantic, do more than putting "for sale" signs in yards and in newspapers. They have the tools and training to source and present research apropos to your commercial real estate purchase or sale. They also have the ability to provide transaction and advisory services to ensure every aspect of your CRE process goes smoothly and efficiently. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Here are a few of the biggest reasons to work with a commercial real estate broker in South Carolina.

Save Money

Save Money

Unsurprisingly, money is one of the biggest reasons why people steer clear of CRE brokers - for the cost savings. Yet, just about every commercial real estate transaction is managed by a commercial real estate brokerage. Why might that be? The answer is that smart business owners, executives, and investors know that the most lucrative cost savings stem from good planning, time management, and successful negotiations. Only an experienced commercial real estate broker can provide you with those features while also properly structuring your commercial real estate deal.

Manage Your Time

Manage Your Time More Effectively

Commercial real estate investors and business owners often have jam-packed schedules with little time to spare for anything other than day-to-day operations. If that sounds familiar, you know how crucial time management is for commercial real estate. By working with a seasoned broker, you can uphold your daily responsibilities while they provide guidance and manage the minutia of your CRE dealings.

Specialized Systems

Access to Specialized Systems and Data

Reputable commercial real estate brokerages provide access to a bevy of information that is pertinent to your commercial real estate goals. We're talking vacancy and absorption rates, the latest sales price data, comparative labor and tax costs, and more. Your broker will help break down this information so that you can make the most informed decisions possible. Brokerages like Coldwell Banker Commercial Atlantic also have systems and software to facilitate complex real estate processes while eliminating unneeded costs. The combination of accumulated data and exclusive systems results in a more cost-effective, efficient way to meet your real estate requirements on terms that are beneficial to you.

Success and Experience

Years of Success and Experience

As is the case with most things in life, practice and repetition are essential in honing skills and achieving business success. The truth is that no amount of money or "how to" articles can suffice for decades of real-world, hands-on experience. Sure, you can find a litany of commercial real estate info online. But those articles won't teach you about navigating the nuances of structuring advantageous purchase terms or completing complicated due diligence tasks. A successful commercial real estate broker in St. George, SC, will have no problem executing these often-confusing processes because they've done it dozens and dozens of times before. This priceless experience is your best resource for successful commercial real estate initiatives.

Service Integration

Service Integration

One of the biggest advantages of working with a commercial real estate brokerage is their ability to provide necessary services that are relevant to your real estate needs. As a Coldwell Banker Commercial affiliate, we are part of a network that allows us access to accounting, legal, and other services needed on your real estate journey. Finding and vetting these services can be very costly and time-consuming, which is unneeded stress that we're happy to remove from your plate.


Purposeful and Engaging Marketing

For any project to be successful, a strategic marketing plan must be implemented to achieve the desired results for our clients. The methods of exposing and promoting a property must be creative, innovative, and unique to your property. At Coldwell Banker Commercial Atlantic, we utilize the most effective methods that make sense for your property in South Carolina, including:

  • Print Materials
  • Digital Marketing
  • Design Renderings
  • Photography
  • Weekly and Monthly Advertising
  • Affiliation Marketing
  • Signage
  • More
Negotiating Acumen

Negotiating Acumen

If you're reading this page, chances are you're successful to some degree and have entered negotiations a time or two in your professional life. While that's nothing to sneeze at, the art of negotiating in the commercial real estate industry is a skill that must be honed over years of transactions. In the world of CRE, transaction negotiations are often time-consuming and stressful - two things you don't need in your life. Your commercial real estate broker will use their experience to relieve you of that stress so that you can focus on growing your business or serving tenants.

Knowledge of Local Markets

Knowledge of Local Markets

One of the most valuable reasons for working with a commercial real estate brokerage is that staff have a deep understanding of South Carolina's real estate market. In the Lowcountry, trends and market conditions are constantly changing. Opportunities are lost and found daily.

With this market knowledge, your commercial real estate broker in St. George, SC, can provide an easy-to-understand analysis of various commercial properties within your budget. They'll know what relevant properties are leased or sold for and how much. Savvy commercial real estate brokers are also always informed on local demographics and market indicators that impact your commercial real estate goals. For instance, with COVID becoming a more accepted part of our lives, leasing, and sales in retail have taken off, especially for Class A and Class B centers.

Brief Overview A Brief Overview of Our Specialties

At Coldwell Banker Commercial Atlantic, we specialize in several commercial real estate services. Though each service is comprehensive and will differ for each client, here is a brief overview to help you understand the scope of our abilities.

General Brokerage and Leasing Services

We're proud to say that our commercial real estate brokers in St. George, SC, are equipped with all the necessary skills and traits to make your life easier. From transactional needs to marketing strategies, our experience and market knowledge is second to none, allowing us to ensure your success in today's market.

Property Management
Property Management

In an ever-changing commercial real estate industry, our approach to property management is constantly evolving. Our team has extensive experience in commercial real estate management and recognizes its importance as a foundation for long-term value and wealth. As such, Coldwell Banker Commercial Atlantic provides tailor-made property management packages that meet your specific assets needs and objectives.

Construction Management
Project and Construction Management

Whether you're entering a build-to-suite or remodeling a commercial property, our associates are ready to represent you with facility planning, design, construction, zoning restrictions, and so much more. If you're looking for a brokerage that can guide you through every step of the construction process with your goals and budget at heart, look no further than Coldwell Banker Commercial Atlantic.

Investment Analysis
Investment Analysis

Coldwell Banker Commercial Atlantic provides comprehensive investment analytics to better evaluate potential investments and increase return on those investments. Additionally, our team can facilitate single or multiple-location transactions and also find alternative financing recommendations if needed.

Property Development
Property Development

From selecting the perfect building site for your property to overseeing its initial construction, our associates provide experience and expertise when you need it most, covering every step and service of property development. If needed, our team can assemble the right professionals to ensure your property is developed to your unique specifications and applicable regulatory standards.

Acquisition, Disposition, and Work-Out Properties

Our commercial real estate brokerage represents clients in both the disposition and acquisition of property and works directly with you to determine your needs. We then strive to improve efficiency and reduce costs. We also assist financial institutions and government agencies in the management and disposition of ‘troubled properties.' Our firm incorporates its spectrum of services to efficiently turn these properties around and improve their value for ultimate disposition.

 Commercial Real Estate Brokers St. George, SC

Time-Tested Tips for Commercial Real Estate Investing

If you're just getting started in commercial real estate investing, you're probably searching for reliable advice and best practices to follow. While hands-on experience and guidance from a commercial real estate broker are always best, a little advice never hurts. After all, there's a wide world of opportunity out there. As you begin to build a more robust portfolio, keep these tips and tricks in mind.

Take Your Time

Take Your Time

Commercial real estate deals can take a lot longer than traditional single-family transactions. That's true throughout the entire process, from purchase, to renovation, to selling. That's not a bad thing - after all, having impatience is a good way to rush into a poor decision. Instead of a means to quick cash, think of commercial real estate deals as a large bonus or as a vehicle for retirement.

Keep an Open Mind

Keep an Open Mind

Many commercial real estate investors jump right into the multi-family property space. However, it's essential to keep other types of properties in mind, such as mobile homes, office buildings, land, and even mobile home parks. Forget about your comfort zone. Instead, weigh your options and choose a niche that helps you meet your goals.


Search for Great Financing Before Making Offers

Commercial loans are quite different than their residential counterparts. In some ways, they're better. Though down payments are typically higher, meaning you'll put more down, there's often no personal liability involved. Plus, commercial loans can be more forgiving when borrowing money for down payments. The bottom line is to search for the best lenders before making an offer. If you're having trouble, ask your commercial real estate broker for assistance, as they often have connections and partnerships with relevant entities.

Learn the Appropriate

Learn the Appropriate Formulas

If you're used to buying residential homes, you're probably familiar with some formulas, such as buying 75% of after-repaired value minus the estimated cost of repairs. Depending on the type of commercial property you're buying or selling, you'll have different formulas to learn. Two examples are Cap Rates and Net Operating Income. Learning these formulas can be very beneficial when making an offer.

Real Estate

Lean On Your Commercial Real Estate Agent in St. George, SC

If you find yourself discouraged with the commercial real estate game, remember that the team at your commercial real estate brokerage is there to make your life easier. At Coldwell Banker Commercial Atlantic, we have a powerful brokerage with a team of over 20 highly skilled and educated agents. Our job is to serve you, whether you're a new investor looking for your first deal or an experienced property owner looking for 1031 tax investment advice.

Commercial Real Estate St. George, SC


Latest News in St. George, SC

St. George restaurant marries faith, family and food

ST. GEORGE — Sweeping the floor following the lunch rush at Nannie’s Kitchen, Sherrie Benson sings along to “It Matters to the Master” by Southern Gospel group The Collingsworth Family.By the time the small St. George restaurant has closed at 3 p.m., Benson has been hard at work for close to 12 hours, baking off biscuits and muffins in the wee hours of the morning. Later in the early evening on this Monday, she will lead a Bible st...

ST. GEORGE — Sweeping the floor following the lunch rush at Nannie’s Kitchen, Sherrie Benson sings along to “It Matters to the Master” by Southern Gospel group The Collingsworth Family.

By the time the small St. George restaurant has closed at 3 p.m., Benson has been hard at work for close to 12 hours, baking off biscuits and muffins in the wee hours of the morning. Later in the early evening on this Monday, she will lead a Bible study at the restaurant she opened with her husband Shane in November 2021. The group of about a dozen women planned to discuss a book titled, “Twelve Extraordinary Women: How God Shaped Women of the Bible, and What He Wants to Do with You.”

Some restaurants feel like they’ve been around for decades, even if they haven’t. Nannie’s Kitchen, located at 307 North Parler Ave. just under one hour from downtown Charleston, is one of those places.

Homegrown knickknacks fill the walls, from coffee mugs to children’s soccer jerseys. By the door, there is a photo of Edna, or Nannie, Benson’s grandmother and the inspiration for the small restaurant. Edna was a praying grandmother who helped get Benson through tough times, she told me after I recently visited Nannie’s for lunch.

After placing my order for the barbecue sandwich with mustard sauce, I turned my attention to the baked goods case, which Benson later told me was decimated from a busy weekend. There was still more than enough to choose from, including apple fritters, blueberry muffins and a chocolate-covered cake pop with a delightfully unexpected strawberry filling. In addition to the baked goods, Nannie’s Kitchen serves breakfast sandwiches, soups, salads, meatloaf, grilled pimento cheese, hot dogs, Hershey’s Ice Cream and more.

Food first connected Sherrie and Shane when they met, but opening a restaurant only became a reality when they moved to St. George from Summerville in 2020. The couple fell in love with the calm streets and friendly neighbors in their new South Carolina home, a place that felt more comfortable than a rapidly developing Summerville.

Dorchester County school gets attention for its role in history

Rosenwald Schools helped educate Black students in segregated South. Could a national park follow?ST. GEORGE, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - A part of history in St. George that was set to be bulldozed now has a bright future.The Rosenwald School in St. George was a building many people may never have been aware of, but it was one of thousands across the south that educated black children during segregation. It opened in 1925 and closed in 1954, eventually falling into an extreme state of disrepair with a caving ceiling, deteriorating floo...

Rosenwald Schools helped educate Black students in segregated South. Could a national park follow?

ST. GEORGE, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - A part of history in St. George that was set to be bulldozed now has a bright future.

The Rosenwald School in St. George was a building many people may never have been aware of, but it was one of thousands across the south that educated black children during segregation. It opened in 1925 and closed in 1954, eventually falling into an extreme state of disrepair with a caving ceiling, deteriorating floors and chipped, peeling walls.

But a group of former students got together and came up with a plan to save their historic upper Dorchester County school. The newly renovated St. George Rosenwald School will officially become a museum and community center.

It was in schools like the Dorchester County site, and nearly 5,000 others built in the American South a century ago, that Black students largely ignored by whites in power gained an educational foundation through the generosity of a Jewish businessman who could soon be memorialized with a national park.

They are now called Rosenwald Schools in honor of Julius Rosenwald, a part-owner and eventual president of Sears, Roebuck and Co., who teamed up with African American educator and leader Booker T. Washington to create the program to share the expenses of schools for Black children with the community.

There was no public transportation for the school’s students so most had to walk to school except for the lucky few, like Ordie Brown, who caught a ride on a donated bus.

“My father was fortunate enough to buy an old school bus and by getting that bus, I was able to drive that bus from the St. Mark community, bringing children from there, here to this school,” Brown said.

Rosenwald School historian Andrew Feiler says every county in the state had at least one Rosenwald School. Some had up to five. With no public transportation, attempts were made to place the schools in central, accessible locations.

Rosenwald gave $1,500 to each school; the remainder of the cost of each school had to be split between the Black community and local governments. For the Black community, cash, land, material or labor could count as their contribution, Feiler said.

“The leaders of this program reached out to the Black communities of the south and they said, ‘If you would contribute to the schools, because we want you to be a full partner in your progress.’” Feiler said.

Ralph James attended first and second grade at the school and now serves as chairman of the group of seven responsible for restoring the school to repair a caved ceiling, decayed floor and chipped, peeling walls.

“It’s a center of hope. It’s a center of encouragement,” James said. “It inspired us in spite of the odds and challenges we faced.”

The 76-year-old retired municipal judge has made it his life’s goal to restore his old school.

“Education has always been the key to success. Julius Rosenwald gave us that key,” James said.

The six-classroom building will now serve as a museum, historic site, field trip venue and community gathering place for years to come. When visitors walk inside, they will see some of the original floors and some of the original student desks.

The building will feature memorabilia from the school including yearbooks, homemade band uniforms, major red uniforms, and pictures of graduating classes.

State Sen. John Mathews secured $65,000 in state funding while the group raised around $4 million for the project on their own.

“This community came together in a great way to make this project work,” U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn said. “This is the kind of thing that brings people together, and I’m so pleased that they are preserving this history.”

The St. George school was one of the larger ones with six classrooms and an auditorium. Most schools only had one or two classrooms. More than a third of America’s Black children in the first half of the 20th century were educated in a Rosenwald school.

Other Rosenwald schools have been converted into senior centers, town halls, special event venues or restaurants. Many remain recognizable by the careful plans Rosenwald approved. Tall windows oriented to the east and west assured an abundance of natural light and ventilation in rural areas where electricity often didn’t reach until after the Great Depression.

In St. George, the vision isn’t just restoring the school, but providing a sense of the thriving African American neighborhood surrounding it during segregation. Businesses including a grocery store, barber shop and pool hall benefitted the Black community.

Inside the restored school, two classrooms look almost as they did 70 years ago. Another classroom is a public meeting room. The auditorium has been turned into a multipurpose space and will have exhibits detailing the school’s history and hands-on science displays, James said.

“You can feel what it was like just like I did,” he said.

A grand opening is planned for September.

Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved.

First Look: The George and the Independent Arrive in Georgetown, South Carolina

The colonial seaport town gets a hotel and restaurant combo full of sweet homages to the communityFebruary 29, 2024 Updated March 1, 2024For over eighty years, a family-owned seafood market called Independent Seafood operated on Front Street in the colonial seaport town of Georgetown, South Carolina, serving fresh shrimp and fish to the community daily. Last year, it closed its doors—but two weeks ago, a new restaurant opened bea...

The colonial seaport town gets a hotel and restaurant combo full of sweet homages to the community

February 29, 2024 Updated March 1, 2024

For over eighty years, a family-owned seafood market called Independent Seafood operated on Front Street in the colonial seaport town of Georgetown, South Carolina, serving fresh shrimp and fish to the community daily. Last year, it closed its doors—but two weeks ago, a new restaurant opened bearing their name, housed in a new hotel, the George, that opens today.

“We wanted to be thoughtful about the history and the fabric of the community,” says Steve Palmer, the founder of Indigo Road, the hospitality group behind the new spot. “There’s certainly sadness when a local business like that closes, and we decided the best way to honor them was to call the restaurant the Independent.” The menu reflects the market’s history, too: Raw offerings like littleneck clams and oysters abound, plus larger plates including blackened flounder with a lump crab and andouille sausage perlo. “That blackened flounder is the best-selling dish in the two weeks we’ve been open,” Palmer says. “And the fried crab fingers are my other favorite.”

The hotel itself, with fifty-six rooms, features its own set of homages to Georgetown and the surrounding area; Charleston designer Jenny Keenan wanted to incorporate the history of the town and the environment into every detail. “We all wanted something that blended into the town and the landscape,” she says. “Pecky cypress wood was non negotiable. So were sweetgrass baskets and local art.” Below, look inside the hotel and the restaurant.


“I always love to see the sweetgrass huts along Highway 17 as I drive from Charleston to Georgetown,” Keenan says. The team commissioned local Angela Manigault to make two large baskets to hang on the hotel wall as a nod to the regional art form.


A seating area at the end of the hotel’s first-floor corridor features poppy patterns, a colorful tapestry from India, and framed insects. “Living with birds and butterflies and alligators is part of being in an area with so much greenspace,” Keenan says. “I added touches of the flora and fauna wherever I could.”


From the lobby, guests can peek into the Independent and at a commissioned piece featuring a flying bull and fish. “We wanted the restaurant to feel distinct from the hotel,” Keenan says. “It has a nautical, throwback vibe, with merlot-colored walls and blues.”

Inside the Independent, the bar area features layered textures of leather, wood, and marble.

In the back hallway, this seating area incorporates a collection of found pieces. “We wanted it to feel old, so these items are from antique stores and flea markets,” Keenan says. The team dubbed the portrait of the woman Eliza, after Eliza Lucas Pinkney, an influential historical figure who brought indigo to the area—and they borrowed her name for the outdoor bar, as well.

The cypress wood paneling and floor covers the first-floor corridor, providing a backdrop for a whimsical piece of an alligator and mermaid by Charleston artist David Boatwright.


On the way to the hotel elevators from the lobby, guests pass under an archway, one of Keenan’s favorite structural details. “I wanted it to feel like you are walking through a forest,” she says.

Keenan also wanted the hotel to have an English feel, so she selected patterned wallpaper—in dark blue as a nod to the importance of the indigo industry to the area.

Growing pains may hit St. George with proposed 'cluster' housing development

ST. GEORGE — The tiny town in northwest Dorchester County might be getting some new next-door neighbors, and more, in one residential influx than it has ever seen before.If approved by the county, a "cluster" housing development proposed by the D.R. Horton, a national builder, would bring more than 330 new homes and a new zoning designation for roughly 300 rural acres near the "Town of Friendly People."Business...

ST. GEORGE — The tiny town in northwest Dorchester County might be getting some new next-door neighbors, and more, in one residential influx than it has ever seen before.

If approved by the county, a "cluster" housing development proposed by the D.R. Horton, a national builder, would bring more than 330 new homes and a new zoning designation for roughly 300 rural acres near the "Town of Friendly People."


While the development would land on Sugar Hill Road outside town limits, St. George would provide water to the development while Dorchester County Water and Sewer would provide sewer services, said Kiera Reinertsen, the county's planning director. The development would also add an estimated 100 students to Dorchester School District Four and draw on services and amenities from St. George’s Fire Station Nine, Davis-Bailey Park and the town’s library.

“We’ve never had this many houses come in at one time since I’ve been here,” said Mayor Kevin Hart, who has lived in the town for 35 years.

The 2.8-square-mile town is home to roughly 1,800 residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Now the county seat, St. George was originally called George’s Station as a stop along the South Carolina Railroad, now Norfolk Southern. It was incorporated in 1875.

“We haven’t had a housing development like this in this area before. There’s no way we can stop them, but we have to make plans. We won’t know it works until we see how it goes,” Hart said. "... Some want to keep our small-town feeling. It’s a tough battle, and we knew it was coming. You can see the progress coming all way up Highway 78. Harleyville is having the same challenge as St. George.

SC Climate and Environment News

“We’ve got to hope and pray our best laid plans go well for our little town.”

Described as “America’s largest home builder” on its web site, with operations in 45 markets nationwide and 1 million homes constructed since its inception in 1978, D.R. Horton wants to change zoning for the property for the proposed development from agricultural residential, which allows one-acre home lots, to single family residential (R-1), which reduces lot sizes to a third of an acre.

The cluster concept proposed relies on meeting the greenspace requirement by using that of an old golf club adjacent to the property to be developed. Members of the county’s Planning, Development and Building (PDB) Committee reviewed the request for information only on Jan. 8.

In an R-1 zone, said Reinertsen, there is a requirement that 30 percent of developable acreage be conserved as open space and 20 to 25 percent of that is required to be usable open space.

“Cluster developments allow for smaller lot size but preserve greater areas of open space. I believe that the intent is that a lot of that golf course area or all of it will remain open space. I believe they are looking to develop 338 homes over the next 4 to 5 years,” Reinertsen explained during the committee meeting.

“The services are in place to support a development like this.”


He didn’t disagree with the services available to the development, but PDB chairman and County Councilman David Chinnis took issue with two other factors in the cluster proposal. One point of contention Chinnis raised was the development’s cluster design, which he said not only depends on a housing community having accessible green space nearby, but also that the green space is developable.

“I see some open space that is created as open space because the development possibilities are nearly zero, because of the disconnect from the property. I need to know how they intend to connect it. If they’re getting credit for open space, I expect it to be something that is usable, not just something that is imaginary. Cluster ordinance benefits only really apply if it’s developable green space,” said Chinnis, explaining later to The Post and Courier that the spirit of the county’s cluster development ordinance was to create something similar to community pocket parks.

The benefit to homeowners is green space around their homes, he said, while the benefit to the developer is that it costs less to install utilities when homes are closer together.

D.R. Horton’s proposal still must clear several more bureaucratic hurdles, including a second review by the PDB with a vote, and three readings with votes by the full County Council.

The proposal is only conceptual at this stage, Reinertsen assured the PDB members. The planning department had not received a submittal at the time of the Jan. 8 meeting.

“They’ll have to show me green space access that a neighbor isn’t going to be able to build a fence across,” Chinnis said.

The second point of contention the PDB chairman made was about the lack of traffic-calming measures included in the proposal.

“There are zero traffic calming measures in here. There’s zero. ... There are no splitter islands, roundabouts or anything,” Chinnis said during the meeting.

He later emphasized the county has found that speed bumps don’t make effective traffic control measures in residential communities.

“There’s things they’ll have to incorporate into the design. They may have to drop a few home lots to make it all work,” Chinnis said. “Landowners may have property rights, but land developers have property responsibilities to the community where they are building.”

Historic Rosenwald School to inspire exploration, learning as Children's Museum expands

ST. GEORGE — Four former classrooms in the historic Rosenwald School in St. George will once again become a place to teach young minds as the space becomes the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry’s first — but not last — satellite location out...

ST. GEORGE — Four former classrooms in the historic Rosenwald School in St. George will once again become a place to teach young minds as the space becomes the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry’s first — but not last — satellite location outside of Charleston.

The renovated St. George Rosenwald school is one of about 500 in the state and one of nearly 5,000 in the South, all constructed in the early 1900s. Those who have rallied behind preserving the school envision it becoming the community center of the town. It reopened to the public in August.

When it was built in 1925, it was a six-teacher school dedicated to educating African American children. Now, the north wing of the H-shaped building will take on a new life educating future generations as an extension of the Children's Museum of the Lowcountry.

A new museum

The approximately 2,500 square-foot space within the Rosenwald School will feature a tinker lab with hands-on exhibits to explore engineering concepts; a child-sized grocery store where children can learn about nutrition, commerce and money; a space that can promote visual and performing arts; and classroom space for educational programs or field trip groups. It is expected to open in spring 2024.

Karen Coltrane, CML’s president and CEO, called it a "natural extension of our efforts to serve the greater Lowcountry" outside of its downtown Charleston location.

Coltrane said it’s about teaching kids basic concepts that they can connect to real-world situations. For example, a child may see the apple tree and grocery area in the new exhibit, and the next time they are at the store with a parent, they can understand apples come from trees and that people buy apples at the store with money.

“Making those kinds of connections are vital in early development,” Coltrane said. “It’s easier to get them excited about science and learning when they’re little instead of trying to spark it later.”

The milestone marks the nation's first adaptive reuse of a Rosenwald School as a children's museum satellite. It's the starting point for the museum's plans to expand to more rural areas of the Lowcountry.

“It’s going to be a game-changer in expanding access to museum resources for school field trips,” Coltrane said. “By the time you load up a bunch of kids from these more rural areas and bring them downtown, they don’t have a lot of time to spend at the museum itself. This would give them more hands-on access closer to home.”

Connecting past with present

Ralph James, chairman of the board that operates the Rosenwald school, called the restored building the “jewel of the community.”

“It has always been the desire of the community and alumni of the school to see it restored,” James said. “The original effort of the school was built on the foundation of an opportunity to empower members of our community to be able to increase their educational pursuits. We look forward to offering cultural enrichment to the community once again and again charging students with the task to be all that they can be.”

Revitalizing the school has been more than a decade in the making.

Coltrane had taken a tour of the Rosenwald building in 2015 with then-state Rep. Patsy Knight. At the time it was shuttered, shrubs were overgrown and the weatherworn building was not in great shape, Coltrane recalled. She was leading EdVenture in Columbia, scouting for a potential secondary location. While it didn’t pan out, it ignited the idea for the historic building's potential to become a museum outpost.

Coltrane had moved on to other ventures before returning to the Palmetto State to lead the Children's Museum in downtown Charleston. During her second week on the job, Ralph James, board director of the Rosenwald School, called her asking if a children’s museum satellite post was still on the table. Her immediate answer was yes.

While grants and donations are funding the buildout of the project, Coltrane hopes to secure federal and state funding to operate it in the short term. Ultimately, the goal is to open another satellite location in Dorchester County that could help offset operating costs for the Rosenwald location.

The Children’s Museum downtown sees roughly 130,000 visitors per year. The museum is currently trying to raise $4 million to revamp the downtown location. While expanding the downtown location is out of the question, Coltrane hopes they can reconfigure and maximize the space with new and refreshed exhibits.

“Because we operate within the constrictions of a historic building, the only way to grow is to make the best of the space we have and add additional locations,” Coltrane said.


Investing in the future

The project was funded through investments totaling $300,000 made by Boeing Co. and other local philanthropists.

Erin Fisher, a senior manager for the 787 maker's community engagement efforts, said that efforts to develop a workforce pipeline can't just target high school and college-age students. She said it starts by pushing children to embrace problem-solving and science- and math-based concepts, with the hope that it will set them down a career path in advanced manufacturing or engineering, she said.

“Our work with the Children's Museum is a way to support education from cradle to career,” she said. “This is an opportunity to engage with students on the early childhood level to spark the curiosity that leads to an innovative mindset. That is what we're looking for in our workforce and teammates here at Boeing South Carolina.”

Over the last five years, Boeing has donated $925,000 toward the museum's makerspace, pop-up tinker shop and mobile STEM lab programs that expand the museum’s outreach beyond Charleston county.


Mission first

Coltrane said that she is proud that the first satellite location is driven by being of service to the community rather than revenue generation.

“Mission and margin drive each other forward, but growth is not just defined by the bottom line," Coltrane said. "The priority now is to see growth in the number of children we can reach across the Lowcountry and the types of services we can offer them outside of our downtown hub.”

James hailed the project as an example of the good that can come from public-private partnerships, when the community, town, county, public officials and companies unite for the same goal.

“We are very fortunate to have a multiple-pronged approach to what we can offer,” James said. “We'll be able to demonstrate history from 1925 through now. This place has always been about empowering our young folk, so now we're able to do the same thing, especially with the utilization of the Children's Museum.”

Visits to tour the historic classrooms are currently by appointment only. Once the museum outpost comes online, there will be more regular hours, according to James.

“Having a partner, purpose and a vision was the catalyst that got the movement going on this,” James said. “We hope that other rural areas and small towns will see the benefit of this and will duplicate the efforts happening here.”


This website publishes news articles that contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The non-commercial use of these news articles for the purposes of local news reporting constitutes "Fair Use" of the copyrighted materials as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law.