We've seen it all before. Somebody from off — let's say Ohio — moves to the Charleston area — let's say Radcliffeborough — because, one, they love the beauty of the Lowcountry and, two, they love the fact that the Holy City is a bustling little city, one with walkable streets, a great history, plenty of arts offerings, a thriving live music scene, and a world-class F&B scene. But after they've been here a few years, they realize that the town that they've loved for — oh, two or three years — has changed for the worse. Everything has just gotten so crowded and loud and popular — especially all those transplants from up north. Ugh. Why, they muse, can't we go back to the good ole days two or three years ago when we left the Buckeye State behind to retire in downtown Charleston? And so they raise a stink and they rally area leaders to put the kibosh on the things that made the area so attractive in the first place but which now annoy them.
Yeah, you know the type. They're newbie nimbys. And they are assholes. Fuck those guys.
And right now, it would seem that the newest nimbys — or at least potential nimbys — are a set of three unnamed high-tech firms who want to move to the bustling entertainment district of Upper King because its a bustling entertainment district but who, well, wish it wasn't so bustling. Metro Charleston, a website started by the Washington-based livability data collecting startup Local America
The Entertainment District, with King Street as its spine, would extend from Broad Street on up to the city’s border with North Charleston.
“This is big,” Council Member Mike Seekings (8th District), said last week when he unveiled the proposal at a meeting of the Radcliffeborough Association. Seekings said the proposal was driven in part by an ultimatum by three large high-tech companies that want to relocate to Upper King Street but are concerned about the boisterous, sometimes rowdy nighttime scene in the district created by inebriated revelers who crowd the numerous bars, pubs and restaurants.
“These companies are worth tens of millions of dollars,” Seekings said. “If the ordinance passes, they’ll come, If it doesn’t, they won’t.”
So there you have it, folks. Three startups have given the City of Charleston an ultimatum, and Mayor Riley and City Council are doing exactly what they asked, or at least that's the story according to a Charleston-centric news content branch of a livablity data collecting startup based in high-priced Washington, D.C.
Of course, the real question that needs to be asked of these three unnamed high-tech firms is this: Tell us exactly why you want to move to Upper King in the first place. Surely, it's not because it's hip and trendy and the heart of all of the local action.
As a side note, it would seem that Metro Charleston has a rather interesting view of Upper King Street, one that ignores the city's failed Upper King Design District plan and the fact that new restaurants and bars have been primarily responsible for the revitalization of Upper King. Metro Charleston notes:
For decades, Upper King was a mostly retail district, lined with clothing, furniture, hardware, notions and variety stores and newsdealers and barbershops. As many of those businesses began to close in the face of the development of malls elsewhere in the region, the vacated buildings — many dating back to the 19th century — deteriorated.
Mayor Riley’s administration acted to reinvent the district with a new mix of businesses — venues catering to tourists and other visitors but including a sprinkling of high-tech companies who would set the tone for the “knowledge” economy that the city government and business community seek to create.
Interesting, yes. Apparently, Metro Charleston reporter Tom Grubisich, the content director for Local America, wasn't aware that this bid to attract internet firms to King is a rather new plan of revitalization attack. Surely, the folks that Grubisich spoke to told him that the revitalization of King began — and succeeded — long before the HR startup People Matter moved to Upper King and Mayor Riley went sex nuts for startups in Charleston's local-centric entertainment district.
Currently, it appears that Metro Charleston is the only news site offering from Local America
. According to Street Fight, an online site devoted to hyperlocal business, Metro Charleston, or Local America Charleston, first began publishing in April. Articles on Metro Charleston date back to December 2013. Grubisich was also a featured speaker at this year's Dig South.