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Let’s face it, most people come to Charleston SC for the history and knowing they are walking the same streets as signers of our constitution as well as Civil War generals. That’s just part of the many reasons Charleston has been voted best city in United States so many times. Many of the old historic houses in the downtown Charleston area have been owned or lived in my some of the more famous American dignitaries that once called Charleston SC home. Owning historical property in downtown Charleston SC can be both exciting and challenging at the same time. Before buying a home in downtown Charleston SC there are some things one should consider. Unlike most cities, Charleston takes great pride as do the city’s officials go to painstaking effort to preserve the beauty and historical splendor that so many come to enjoy every year. With that said it’s understandable that it isn’t very simple process to do work, renovation, additions to your property in downtown. All work must be permitted through the BAR (architectural review board) or you could face serious fine AND be forced to change whatever you did back to what it was. Even down to the paint colors. It’s highly recommended that you find a contractor specializing in historical renovations as they are familiar with the rules, permitting process, regulations, and code necessary for doing construction work downtown.
The Board of Architectural review or “BAR” takes their job very seriously and as they should, The BAR was established in 1931 with the creation of the first preservation ordinance in the United States. Our rich history is why Charleston has been voted 5 years in a row the United States #1 tourist city and top 10 in the world by the readers of Conde Naste traveler magazine.
As stated in the City of downtown Charleston Zoning Ordinance, the purpose of the board is “the preservation and protection of the old historic or architecturally worthy structures and quaint neighborhoods which impart a distinct aspect to the city and which serve as visible reminders of the historical and cultural heritage of the city, the state, and the nation.”
There are many historically significant streets in the downtown area that almost always have homes for sale on MLS:
Tradd St – S. Battery – East Bay – Council St – Church St – Meeting St
MLS Listings Data
Results 1 - 12 of 23
Stolls Alley, Charleston, SC, 29401
190 Coming Street, Charleston, SC, 29403
7 State Street, Charleston, SC, 29401
921 Jessica Avenue, Newberry, SC, 29108
79 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, SC, 29401
80 Alexander Street, Charleston, SC, 29403
45 East Bay Street, Charleston, SC, 29401
40 Tradd Street, Charleston, SC, 29401
4 Legare Street, Charleston, SC, 29401
1 Prices Alley, Charleston, SC, 29401
15 Broad Street, Charleston, SC, 29401
49 Broad Street, Charleston, SC, 29401
190 Coming Street
7 State Street
921 Jessica Avenue
79 Ashley Avenue
80 Alexander Street
45 East Bay Street
40 Tradd Street
4 Legare Street
1 Prices Alley
15 Broad Street
49 Broad Street
If you wish to take on the task of doing substantial work to your “new” old house in Downtown Charleston SC then it’s worth knowing what’s at stake. For those owners and contractors they hire who do an amazing job it’s possible you could receive the coveted Carolopolis award from the Charleston Preservation Society. The society was formed in 1953 and was created to “recognize outstanding achievement in exterior preservation, restoration and rehabilitation”. After completing your renovation the home owner or contractor can submit a form to the board for review to be considered for the award.
According to Wikipedia here are 184 properties and districts listed on the National Register in Charleston County. This is the federal governments list of sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred preserving the property. the National Trust for Historic Preservation, coordinate, identify, and protect historic sites in the United States. While National Register listings are mostly symbolic, their recognition of significance provides some financial incentive to owners of listed properties. Protection of the property is not guaranteed. During the nomination process, the property is evaluated in terms of the four criteria for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.
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