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Matt Anderson Properties

History of the American Theater – Upper King Street

By Around Charleston

If you’re shopping or dining on Upper King Street, you may pass the American Theater  Chances are, there won’t be any movies advertised on its marquee or any “coming attraction” posters leading to the ticket booth. While this beautiful Art Deco building was once one of dozens of theaters lining King Street, the American Theater is now the only one left of its kind, the rest renovated or bulldozed to make way for new construction.

The American Theater and its Art Deco facade stands out against the more neoclassical architecture of the surrounding buildings on Upper King. Architect Augustus E. Constantine built the American during the early World War II years. Constantine, an immigrant from Greece, made his home in the South after graduating from Georgia Tech. He was heavily influenced by the architecture of his native country, and combined elements of Hellenic architecture with the modern Art Deco look of the time. While he was quite influential in contributing to the style of Charleston in the 40s and 50s, only a handful of his creations remain other than the American Theater  Other notable Constantine building designs include the Chase Furniture building and 299 King Street (which currently houses the Quiksilver store).

The American opened in 1942, and was named in honor of the military men and women serving abroad during the Second World War. The first offering? The 1942 release of Joan of Ozark, starring Judy Canova and Joe E. Brown. It featured Art Deco details, including vaulted, gilded ceilings and milk glass chandeliers. The Theater remained open until 1977, when (along with the rest of Upper King) business tapered off and profits dropped sharply. In the late 1990s, the property was reopened as a dinner theater venue, where patrons could order food from roaming servers before and during the movie.  Many contemporary movie goers will recognize the American Theater as one setting in the 2003 Nick Cassavetes’ movie, The Notebook, which stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. When Noah (Gosling) takes Allie (McAdams) out on a date, the two see a movie at the American with friends.

The venue was revised again in 2003 when it was converted to a rental property, where business meetings, private movie screenings and private events could take place. Today, the American continues its service to the Upper King area as an exclusive meeting space and premier wedding venue.


“American Theater.” Cinema Treasures.

“American Theater.” Patrick Properties Group.

“Joan of Ozark.” Internet Movie Database.

Morris, George J. “Charleston’s Greek Heritage.” Charleston, South Carolina: The History Press, 2008.

Walker, Kristin B. “Master Preservationist Program-Day Six. Preservation Law, Upper King St and a Challenge for Local Architects.” Charleston Inside Out blog. 2 March 2011. 


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Dining on Upper King Street in Charleston SC

By Around Charleston


Fish Restaurant

Fish Restaurant

The revitalization of Upper King Street has drawn restaurateurs from all different food genres to the area. From delicious desserts and smoothies to savory international cuisine, this lively area on the Charleston peninsula has something to offer even the pickiest of eaters.

If you’re looking for something quick, try Smoothie King just across from Marion Square, or a delectable cupcake from Cupcake at 433 King Street.

If you’re in the mood for something exotic, try one of the many international-themed restaurants on Upper King. Basil, known in the Charleston area for its authentic and delicious Thai food, led the pack in 2002, when brothers Henry and Chal Eang opened the restaurant to instant acclaim. The brothers have since opened restaurants in Charlotte, North Carolina and Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. O-ku, just down the street from Basil at 463 King, was named one of the top ten best new restaurants by Esquire Magazine in 2010. O-ku styles itself as “sushi and Asian fusion,” and offers a variety of bento boxes, sushi rolls and noodle-based dishes at both lunch and dinner.

For casual fare, try Charleston Beer Works, The Belmont, The Macintosh, or Closed for Business, four popular bar-style restaurants with classic dishes like hamburgers, fried chicken and a variety of salads and soups. At any of these, you should be sure to sample a pint or two of a local beer while you’re there. Another great place to grab a quick bite is the Mexican infused Juanita Greenberg’s, which offers up huge burritos, nachos and quesadillas.

Newcomers to the area include F.I.G. partners Mike Lata and Adam Nemirow who opened The Ordinary in December 2012. This upscale seafood house joins other fine dining options such as Fish and Virginia’s on King.

This area has become such a gastronomic draw in recent years that Charleston Culinary Tours now offers a two and a half hour restaurant crawl through the best of Upper King’s restaurants. Whether you join one of their tours, or you try the food offerings at your own pace, this area of Charleston is not to be missed.


“History of Basil.” Basil Thai Restaurant.

“Upper King Culinary Tour.” Charleston Culinary Tours.

Wise, Warren. ”The Ordinary restaurant opens on King Street.” Post and Courier. 20 December 2012. 


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Upper King Street Revitalization

By Around Charleston
King Street

King Street Charleston, SC

Considering the rise in business concentration and popularity of the area with shoppers, it’s not surprising that other businesses and investors want to bring their own additions to Upper King Street. Exciting things are in store for this retail and commercial corridor on the Charleston peninsula, as local officials and planners create a multi-use area for shoppers, diners, business people and visitors.

In early 2012, longtime Charleston major Joe Riley announced a massive future project for the continued revitalization of Upper King Street. This new vision for the area will include a 200-unit apartment complex, a hotel and commercial buildings, as well as additional retail stores and restaurants. Also on the table are plans for another parking garage and a possible switch in the traffic patterns to allow for more ease of movement on and around King Street. The main aim of these projects: to attract the foot traffic that Lower King and East Bay see on a daily basis.

An important addition to the new face of Upper King is the computer software company, “People Matter,” whose national headquarters relocation to 466 King Street will bring in over 250 jobs. Locals hope that the 18 million dollar project will encourage other technological-based companies to come to the area, and PeopleMatter CEO Nate DaPore has even spoken out in the belief that Charleston could become “Silicon Harbor” with the addition of other major tech companies. Another major anchor in the Upper King revitalization will be a 238-room hotel and 20,000 square foot retail and commercial area being developed by CC&T Real Estate Services. This complex will allow for new restaurants and retail shops, as well as office space above the ground floor stores. This massive project will run from Cannon Street to Spring Street along Upper King, and hopes to be to the area what the Charleston Place (formerly the Charleston Omni Hotel) was to Lower King.

The construction phases of the aforementioned projects should occur through 2013 with most ending by early 2014, which means that the place to watch in Charleston right now is Upper King Street.


Bainum, Stephanie. “Upper King to Get Makeover.” ABC News4 Charleston website. 25 Jan 2012.

Bowers, Paul. “Software Company People Matter Moving to Upper King.” Charleston City Paper. 24 Oct 2011.



King Street Charleston, SC

A Brief History of Upper King Street

By Around Charleston


King Street Charleston, SC

Walk down the section of King Street today between Marion Square and Spring Street, and you’ll be greeted with the beautiful storefronts of bustling home interiors stores and smells from some of Charleston’s best restaurants. Upper King is one of Charleston’s busiest business districts–but it hasn’t always been so.

Business in this section of the Charleston peninsula dates back to post-Civil War when grocery and clothing stores first set up shop. The area experienced a second wave of growth in the 1940s and early 1950s, when more than 1100 businesses were operating in the district. By the 1960s, the area had a much lower retail presence, with only 916 businesses open in 1963. One reason for this decline is that the area was converted from a two-lane road to a one-lane, making the businesses more difficult to access. Lack of parking and general population decline on the peninsula also lead to the decline of the area.

Joe Riley was elected mayor in Charleston in 1975, and one of his big projects was the revitalization of Upper King Street. He began this process in the 1980s by allotting $50,000 to the rebuilding of the historic Bluestein’s building at the corner of Mary Street and King Street, which had been gutted by fire in 1983. Riley’s efforts, however, were severely restricted by Hurricane Hugo in 1989, whose direct hit on Charleston devastated the area.  By 1990, forty percent of Upper King Street’s buildings were vacant; the buildings that were occupied were done so largely by low income residents rather than businesses.

The mid 1990s brought a renewed effort to restore the public’s perception of Upper King. The self-proclaimed “Funky District” wanted to become a local center for home furnishings and decorating, which built on the existing furniture stores. In 1994, the road was converted back to two-way, and on street parking was added. This change, according to a study done at Clemson University, allowed Upper King to “regain its status as a cultural and retail hub in the City of Charleston.”


“Historic Building Survey of Upper King, Upper Meeting Street, and Intersecting Side Streets in Charleston, South Carolina.” Prepared by the College of Charleston. May 2009.

“Mayor Joe Riley–Biography.”
Baco, Meagan. “One- to Two-Way Street Conversions as a Preservation and Downtown Revitalization Tool: the Case Study of Upper King Street, Charleston, South Carolina.” Clemson University. May 2009.

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Investment Properties in Downtown Charleston SC – The Time to Buy is Now

By Charleston Market Updates

Ever had the itch to become a property mogul or found yourself glued to the TV for hours watching re- runs of Million Dollar Listing or Flip This House? I hate to admit it, but I am guilty. With the increase in stock market volatility surrounding the election and the debt crisis in the Euro zone, many are looking for an alternative form of investment. Investors are ditching their Mutual Funds and low yield savings accounts in favor of a more tangible asset, real estate. Taking things a step further, real estate investors are focusing on markets that are showing signs of growth while still being affordable. This is where Charleston enters the picture. With the influx of positive press and industrial/technological growth in recent months, businesses and investors are taking note. In fact, Charleston was recently voted the #1 City in the World by Conde Nast Magazine. A lofty claim, but I as well as many Charleston natives would argue that our city is finally getting the attention it deserves. With the increase of business activity and tourism, many, both young and old, have decided to make Charleston their home and the real estate statistics prove this point. Year-to-date home sale figures have grown 12% over 2011. On the commercial/investment side of the spectrum vacancy rates are at all time lows, retail/office rent rates are at all time highs, as well as residential rental rates.

How are large real estate developers responding? The answer is simple; they are buying up every site on the Peninsula that they can get their hands on, specifically on the Upper King and Upper Meeting Street corridors. Smaller local development groups have taken note and are doing the same and they all seem to be focusing on three areas: food & beverage, hotels, and student housing. Holiday Inn has identified a new site on Meeting Street, Greystar is working on a mid-rise boutique apartment project dubbed Elan and there are new bars/restaurants opening weekly downtown. This is all part of a master plan for the Midtown area connecting Upper King with Upper Meeting. You might ask, how does this affect you as a smaller real estate investor in Charleston? The answer to this question can be defined in terms of proximity and demand. Unless you are a long –time restaurateur you may want to stay away from this side of the business and unless you have experience as a hotel developer you probably won’t get off the ground . This leaves one clear option; student housing. Limited rental properties on the Peninsula and large number of students attending the MUSC, the College of Charleston, Charleston School of Law, and now the USC satellite campus coupled with low barriers of entry make student house the clear choice for first-time or seasoned investors looking at the Charleston real estate market. Property values are relatively low with high rent rates ($900-1000 per bedroom or more) in many of the neighborhoods directly adjacent to the Upper King/Upper Meeting corridors. Areas such as the Eastside, Cannonborough, Elliottborough, Wraggborough, Ansonborough, Radcliffeborough and Harleston Village are all smart choices.

How do I get started? Rather than spend time driving around and calling off of real estate signs, call me and I will set you up on a search specific to your requirements. I specialize in the purchase and sale of Investment Properties in downtown and have extensive experience dealing with investors needs in the ever-changing real estate market here in Charleston. I can promise you that you will only receive properties that fit your budget and that have the potential for significant financial gain with no filler. Now is the time to invest while the deals are still out there and before real estate prices on the Peninsula adjust to the demand.

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