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For Immediate Release, September 2012
Charleston City Market Renovation Wins National Travel Award

Society of American Travel Writers Honors Preservation Achievement

Charleston, S.C. (September 18, 2012) — In recognition of its extensive and well-executed renovation, the Charleston City Market has received a 2012 Phoenix Award from the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), a national consortium of professional writers, editors, photographers and filmmakers who specialize in travel industry journalism. Created in 1969, the Phoenix Awards recognize individuals and communities that have enhanced a travel experience through conservation, preservation, beautification or environmental efforts. The merits of the Charleston City Market’s 18-month revitalization were highlighted during a video presentation at the SATW Phoenix Awards luncheon on September 13, 2012.

"We are extremely proud of this historic renovation, which came in ahead of schedule and under budget,” says Hank Holliday, a principal with City Market Preservation Trust LLC, which oversaw the multimillion-dollar project.

Erected in 1804, the Charleston City Market exists as one of the oldest public markets in the United States and is comprised of four historic buildings that total 32,981 square feet of rentable space. In addition to its historic significance, the Charleston City Market welcomes millions of visitors every year and is one of the Southeast’s leading attractions. The four-block long market is home to 285 local vendors, including 56 artisans who weave sweetgrass baskets, one of the region’s prized indigenous crafts.

According to Steve Varn, former president of the Downtown Market Association and partner in the City Market Preservation Trust LLC, the renovation “resulted in dramatically increased sales for City Market vendors, while also successfully drawing Charlestonians back to the heart of downtown.”

In 2008, the long-term lease on the historic market was awarded to City Market Preservation Trust LLC, comprised of Holliday, Varn and Lawrence Thompson. The partners spent one year studying the nuances of successful public markets in San Francisco, CA; New York, NY; Havana, Cuba; and Lyon, France. In addition to capital improvements, the partners had one primary goal according to Holliday: transform the historic landmark for the benefit of locals.

To shore up the structural integrity and repurpose the existing space to provide a higher quality visitor experience, the City Market Preservation Trust LLC enlisted Glenn Keyes Architects and Hightower Construction, which split the project into two phases. Phase one included brick re-pointing, roof repair, new lighting, ceiling fans, new restrooms and weather shields in the three open-air buildings. Phase two heralded the dramatic makeover of the Great Hall, the air-conditioned building between Meeting and Church streets. A new skylight the length of the Great Hall itself was added, while the bluestone central aisle was restored and raised approximately 42 inches at one end of the building.

The completed Charleston City Market renovation was revealed to the public on June 28, 2011, and earned praise from Preservation magazine and The New York Times. It also received the Carolopolis Award from the Preservation Society of Charleston and the Whitelaw Award from the Historic Charleston Foundation.

“The Charleston City Market is a great asset for the City of Charleston, the citizens and the hundreds of market vendors in particular," says Thompson.

Past Phoenix Award winners include the Vandenberg Reef in Key West, FL; Quartier des Spectacles in Montreal, Quebec; Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in San Francisco, CA; The Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA; The Preservation Society of Newport County, RI; Bermuda National Trust; The High Line in New York, NY; and The International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, WI.

The mission of the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is to unify and lead the local travel industry in marketing the Charleston area as an individual, meeting, incentive and group destination to both the domestic and international markets. For more information, visit explorecharleston.com/media.

The Society of American Travel Writers’ mission is to promote responsible journalism, provide professional development for its members and encourage the conservation and preservation of travel resources worldwide. To learn more, visit satw.org.


Editor’s Note: High-resolution digital images of the Charleston City Market and interviews available upon request.

For more information, contact the CVB Media Department at [email protected] or (843) 853-8000.


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