Commercial Space Services

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We offer LLF members two different resources to address challenges that may arise when it comes to a physical location for your business.

1) Local Space Database

Finding the right space for your business can be a particularly challenging aspect of entrepreneurship, particularly in a high-priced real estate market with low vacancy rates. In 2016, a national report was released by the Institute of Local Self-Reliance ranking rising retail rates in 13 cities across the country, and Charleston topped the list with a citywide 26% increase in retail lease rates over the course of a year.

If you are looking for a commercial space, we recommend working with one of the real estate brokers in our membership as your starting point. In addition to connecting you with local brokers, our Local Space Database lists unique commercial properties that may not appear in MLS listings, as well as shared-space opportunities. To access the Local Space Database, email Lauren Gellatly at lauren@lowcountrylocalfirst.org to receive the password. Lowcountry Local First assumes no liability and has not inspected the listings included.

2) Commercial Space Advisory Team

Understanding the ins and outs of lease negotiation, a commercial build-out process, and navigating the complex regulatory process are daunting tasks for a local business. Unlike national chain stores or large corporations who have a team of consultants to handle this aspect of their business, local businesses often have to learn or guess what to do on the fly, while trying to accomplish other critical tasks necessary to start—or continue—operating a business.

Lowcountry Local First’s Commercial Space Advisory Team to assist local businesses with the task of answering these questions in a professional and confidential setting. Locals experts helping local businesses.

The Advisory Team is not intended to replace the services of professionals in the real estate industry. Rather, it’s meant to offer advice and guidance in an unbiased, objective and limited format. It’s a starting place, really. Example advising may include:

– Pointing local businesses in the right direction. (Do you need an architect? How much space do you need? Etc.)
– Offering ideas or different solutions to consider. (What if you lease a bigger space than you need and sub-lease to a friend and share a conference room?)
– Confirm marketplace assumptions. (What can I expect expense pass-throughs to be? How can I compare a full service lease with a net lease?)
– Explaining common lease terms. (What needs to be considered given my business plan? Should I engage an attorney?)
– Permitting and zoning. (I have a great opportunity to lease a property, but the zoning doesn’t fit my business. What next?)

COMMERCIAL SPACE ADVISORY TEAM MEMBERS

Real Estate (Broker, Developer, Finance)
– Jeff Baxter, Cityvolve
– Jim Haley, Cityvolve
– Steve Varn, Varn Real Estate
– Luiz Yamashita, Dunes Commercial Properties
Design (Architect, Landscape Architect, Urban Design)
– Gary Collins, SeamonWhiteside
– Judy Dixon, Rush Dixon Architects
– Erin Stevens, Surculus Design
– David Thompson, David Thompson Architect
Legal
– Gray Taylor, Buist Byars & Taylor
Regulatory (Zoning, Permitting)
– Jordan Lanier, City of Charleston, Dept of Business & Neighborhood Services
– Ryan Johnson, City of North Charleston, Office of the Mayor
– Amy Livingston, Town of Mount Pleasant, Business & Tourism

WHO SHOULD APPLY?
This service is available to LLF members at no cost. All industries and business types are invited to participate. LLF staff will respond to all inquiries and determine if a consultation is appropriate.

CONTACT:
To learn more please contact Lauren Gellatly, Community Development Director, by email at lauren@lowcountrylocalfirst.org, phone (843)801-3390, or please complete this short questionnaire, and we will contact you:

3) Community Storefront Project

The Community Storefront Project is based on Reynolds Avenue, located in the Chicora-Cherokee neighborhood in North Charleston. The goal of this project is to build on the existing assets of the community and the foundation built by Metanoia’s work over the past 15 years. The objective is to add to the vibrancy of the neighborhood and expand on the economic opportunities that support local-independent businesses.

Hopeful entrepreneurs submitted an application and business plan, which were reviewed by an outside committee of community members, Lowcountry Local First and Metanoia staff. Selected businesses will receive membership with LLF, mentorship, marketing and accounting support, as well as subsidized rent for up to three years. Businesses will be announced and celebrated by the fall of 2018.