When it comes to the latest trends in women's apparel, there's no better place to shop till you drop than Downtown Chucktown. And if you're searching for the finest threads in Port Royal, look no further than Copper Penny - the Lowcountry's go-to shop for anyone that has a passion for fashion.

We have been dressing women in Port Royal for over 34 years and offer upscale designer collections curated with a Southern eye. Here, women from around the United States discover sophisticated, effortless beauty for every season. Whether you're looking for a sassy new dress to impress that special someone or the perfect outfit for your next vacation, your options are endless at Copper Penny.

With easy-to-find locations close to Port Royal's hottest spots, our curated selection of the newest, most popular women's clothing lines reflects the effortless glamour of Port Royal. Whether you're a tidy professional or a fierce trend-setter, our goal is to help you find the perfect look for your own unique style. With designer brands like CK Bradley and Holst & Lee on hand year-round, finding your new look is easy and fun when you visit Copper Penny.

Our clothing lines give ladies a refreshing mix of one-of-a-kind authenticity with real wearability, allowing them to shine with confidence and style all year long. So, go ahead and spoil yourself - you deserve to look like a million bucks!

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Find the Perfect Dress to Impress

Diamonds are pretty and all, but honestly? Dresses are a girl's best friend. Dresses are fun, comfortable, and versatile. At Copper Penny, they're also fashionable and cute. We have a huge selection of women's dresses in Port Royal, SC, from stylistic sheath dresses to drop-waist styles that will make your girlfriends jealous.

We offer several styles and shapes from which you can pick. Not sure what style fits best?

It all starts at the waist:

 Boutique Clothing Port Royal, SC
 Boutique Dresses Port Royal, SC

A-Line Waist

These dresses are made to fit your waist and then gradually flare out towards the hem. A-line dresses are excellent for minimizing thighs, hips, and midsections while pulling the eyes to your bust. This style of dress is a great fit for almost any body type. There's a reason why so many brides settle on A-Line dresses for their big day! With plenty of varieties, this is a kind of dress that you can wear again and again.

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 Cloths Shop Port Royal, SC

Empire Waist

Like the A-Line style, empire dresses are made to fit through your bust. Rather than creating a distinctly angular shape like the A-Line, the Empire style flows from the bust down. This is another kind of dress that fits many body types. From curvy to apple body shapes, the Empire draws focus to your bust and minimizes everything else. For lovely ladies on the shorter side, this style defines your silhouette, especially if you choose a maxi length dress.

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 Cloths For Women Port Royal, SC

Drop Waist

A throwback to the roaring 20's style flapper dresses, Drop Waist dresses look best on lean, athletic bodies that don't have too many curves in the hip area. The key to pulling off a Drop Waist style dress is to ensure that it's not hugging you. This dress is best worn when it is able to hang freely on your body.

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Once you know the kind of waist that fits your body type, it's time to find your shape. A few of our most popular dress shapes include:

Fit & Flare Dresses in Port Royal

Any clothing store for women in Port Royal, SC, worth its salt, will have plenty of fit & flare dresses for you to try. This common-shaped dress is one of the most popular on the market, mainly because they look great on every woman, regardless of age or shape. A timeless choice, fit & flare dresses fit through the bodice and flare out just below your hip. This helps develop a balanced, slimming silhouette for most women. If you want to accentuate your best assets and hide everything else, ask our experienced fashionistas to show you some the most popular fit & flare dresses at Copper Penny.
Time to start doing your happy dance! Fit & flare dresses have very balanced proportions, making them a true winner for every body type. Women with athletic builds love this dress for the extra curves. Women with apple-shaped bodies love how fit & flare dresses define their waistlines. Because this dress already looks like an hourglass on the hanger, it will be a natural fit for ladies with such a figure.
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 Clothing Stores Port Royal, SC
 Fashion Stores Port Royal, SC

Shift Dresses in Port Royal

Shift dresses are typically rectangular in shape and tend to be comfy and forgiving since they aren't fitted. Also called a column dress, the shift dress is a great choice for polished professionals needing a conservative, fashionable outfit for work.
These dresses look fabulous on women with athletic, lean shapes and women with an apple-like figure. This kind of dress doesn't work well with a belt, so ladies with an hourglass figure may not be able to show off their curves in a shift. Try pairing this dress with a nice pair of heels for a beautiful new look!
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Wrap Dresses in Port Royal

Wrap dresses are one of the most popular styles on the market, because they give ladies of most shapes and sizes a flattering, fashionable dress option.
If you have an hourglass, apple, or generally curvy body shape, you're going to love wrap dresses. This style of dress offers a natural waist while placing emphasis on your bust. Wrap dresses give you a balanced silhouette and, with a knee-length fit, are great for any type of color or style, both day and nightwear.
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 Fashion Boutique Port Royal, SC

Timeless Tops for Every Style

Unless you're feeling extra sassy, chances are you're wearing a top at this very moment. Tops are garments that cover the top half of your body. At Copper Penny, we have an endless selection of tops in a wide range of styles - from basic tees to blouses and everything in between. If you're looking for the highest quality women's tops in Port Royal, SC, you just hit the jackpot!

With that said, finding the right top for the right occasion is easier said than done. However, at Copper Penny, we make finding the right top fun. Whether you're looking for a top that makes a statement or you need a classic button-down for a subdued style, we've got your back. We only carry the most popular tops from the best brands and designers around the world.

 Ladies Clothing Port Royal, SC

Here are just of our most popular tops:

 Online Boutique Port Royal, SC

Women's Poplin Tops in Port Royal

Sometimes called broadcloth tops, poplins have classic characteristics and are often woven with an over/under weave. This kind of weave gives more substance to your top while also giving you room to breathe. Poplin shirts are typically soft and smooth, and are great for everyday business attire, some formal occasions, and for certain ceremonies. Sweet and feminine, our Bruna poplin eyelet bib top features ruffles at the sleeves and an eyelet lace yoke at the front. Pair your poplin with your favorite pair of shorts or jeans for a contemporary, relaxed look.

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Boutique Port Royal, SC

Women's Wrap Tops in Port Royal

Great for wearing solo or layered over a camisole or tank top, wrap tops are lightweight, versatile, and great for many different occasions. Wrap tops go well with jeans, maxi dresses, and high-waisted jeans or trousers. Our V-Neck Wrap SLV Top by Jayden is uber-popular at Copper Penny and the perfect choice for dressing down or dressing up. The choice is yours!

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 Boutique Clothing Port Royal, SC

Women's Off the Shoulder Tops in Port Royal

For a dose of feminine fashion, be sure you add an off-the-shoulder top to your everyday wardrobe. A casual, sexy choice, off-the-shoulder tops have unique necklines that cut across your upper arms and chest, leaving your shoulders bare. The result is a flirty flash of skin, which elongates your neck and gives a relaxed, "daytime casual" look. Our Nola off-the-shoulder top pairs perfectly with shorts or even a flowy skirt and is hand-woven in Spain using Jacquard fabric.

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 Boutique Dresses Port Royal, SC

Women's Tank Tops in Port Royal

Who doesn't love a good tank top?! Tank tops are lightweight, versatile, and equally great for lounging in the yard or running errands on weekends. Tank tops lend an air of simplicity to your outfit and can be styled in endless ways. Take our Velvet Heart Victory Tank, for instance. This tank is a refreshing update on our classic sleeveless tank top, complete with fray details and a scoop neck. Throw in the fact that it's machine washable, and you have a wardrobe winner.

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Having trouble finding the best top for your size and style? As the most trusted women's clothing boutique in Port Royal, SC, Copper Penny has helped women discover new looks in the Lowcountry for more than two decades. We take pride in providing a personalized, boutique experience for our customers. If you have questions, give us a call or swing by one of our locations. We would be happy to give you our professional opinion.

Until then, here's a quick guide you can follow to help you find the right fit for your women's top in Port Royal:

How to Find the Right Fit for Your Women's Top

When choosing a women's top for your outfit, you have to consider how comfortable, confident, and beautiful you will feel. The best way to feel your best in an outfit is to make sure it fits correctly. To get started, you'll want to take your measurements. For most women's tops, the best areas to focus on are your hips, waist, and chest.

  • Hip Measurements: Measuring your hips is fairly easy. Take your measuring tape and use it to wrap around the widest area of your hips.
  • Waist Measurements: Take your measuring tape and place it at the very top of your hip bone. Wrap it all the way around your body. Try to keep your measuring tape in line with your belly button. For the most accurate measurements, stand up straight and breathe normally.
  • Chest Measurements: For an accurate chest measurement, take the end of your measuring tape and place it on the fullest area of your bust. From there, wrap the tape around your body, under your armpits, and around the blades of your shoulders. Then, wrap the tape tightly from the back of your body to the front, where you started.
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 Cloths Shop Port Royal, SC

Need help measuring? Swing by Copper Penny and ask one of our friendly sales associates to help you out! While you're there, don't forget to check out our huge selection of women's tops in Port Royal, SC.

Contact Us

Looking to take your style to the next level? You can also get in touch with a personal stylist directly from our website. With a personal stylist by your side, you can find stunning looks for specific occasions, using comfortable clothing in your favorite colors and cuts. Copper Penny is your one-stop-shop for fashionable, fun, fabulous designer clothing in Port Royal. But don't take our word for it – come see for yourself!

Latest News in Port Royal, SC

Port Royal OKs highest penalties in SC for tree removal. ‘We have a responsibility’

The town of Port Royal passed a new tree ordinance Wednesday that would impose the highest financial penalties in South Carolina for taking down “specimen” and “landmark” trees....

The town of Port Royal passed a new tree ordinance Wednesday that would impose the highest financial penalties in South Carolina for taking down “specimen” and “landmark” trees.

The 5-0 vote came despite concerns raised about the penalties’ impact on growth and affordable housing. But supporters said the increased fees will encourage developers to think twice about cutting down the town’s iconic live oaks and other species, and won’t harm business growth or affordable housing as much as some claimed.

Grant McClure of the Coastal Conservation League called the new ordinance and the fees a model for other communities to follow.

“The increased cost is really a way to encourage replanting where possible so developers don’t elect to simply pay the fine,” McClure said.

The proposed mitigation cost for removing a specimen tree would increase from $50 to $500 per inch and $100 to $750 per inch for a landmark tree.

The fees apply only to the removal of specimen and landmark trees, including live oaks and several other species.

That translates to an $8,000 mitigation fee to remove a single 16-inch specimen live oak (16 inches x $500/inch), and $22,500 to cut down a 30-inch landmark live oak (30 inches x $750/inch).

Specimen trees are valuable due to their age and potential to reach landmark size. Landmark trees are the most mature and valuable in the urban canopy. For a live oak tree, a specimen is a tree with a width or diameter of 12 inches. A live oak landmark is at least 24 inches in diameter.

Hank Hofford, a builder, told the council before the vote that the higher fees would be the end of two workforce housing projects he was planning to develop in town.

“The fee structure will take projects out of any level of feasibility,” Hofford said.

He compared the fees to a “taking” of property, and predicted the ordinance would be legally challenged — but not by him.

Ian Scott of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce also predicted the higher fees will add to the cost of building workforce housing, which the region badly needs. The cost of housing remains the biggest challenge for employers in attracting and retaining staff, Scott said.

Scott asked that the ordinance be reviewed in six months, and council members agreed.

Talk of toughening up the ordinance first started in July when a property owner sparked an uproar among residents by preparing to remove two large live oak trees as part of a small infill development on 12th Street.

Developer Paul Trask, calling the reaction to that incident “knee-jerk,” said landmark trees need to be protected but that’s it’s sometimes necessary to remove specimen trees.

“I think there should be a balance struck,” Trask said.

But resident Elizabeth Bergmann said the proposed fines should be doubled. They can be reduced in the future, she said.

“A 200-year-old live oak cannot be mitigated,” Bergmann said.

Bergmann filed an appeal to the town’s decision to remove the 12th street trees, launching months of debate about strengthening the tree ordinance.

She disputed the harmful impacts some said the new ordinance would have on affordable housing and growth. The ordinance, she said, would bring “bring more discerning people to town.”

Council member Darryl Owens said he supports economic growth but the council is tasked with protecting the culture of Port Royal and attracting businesses that are the right fit for the town, which does not include big box stores or industrial manufacturing facilities.

“We have a responsibility to protect the character of Port Royal and also its citizens and rich history,” Owens said.

Affordable housing also is important, Owens said. “But I don’t see $1,500 a month as affordable” — and that’s the the price of affordable housing that’s being built in the area.

“Affordable to you may not be affordable to someone else,” Owens said.

Mayor Joe DeVito agreed to the ordinance to support the council but said he still believes the mitigation fees are too high. He said he’s concerned about the long-term ramifications on construction and property tax revenue. He called for the town to review building permits in six months and a year.

South Carolina has firm private property rights, and no municipality would attempt to ban the removal of trees, said Town Manager Van Willis. Instead, communities use design parameters, waivers and mitigation and tree replacement costs that discourage tree removal.

The new Port Royal mitigation fees will be the highest in South Carolina, Willis said.

“I’m not aware of any municipality that will have mitigation costs remotely close to what we have,” he said.

The new Port Royal ordinance is a recognition of the high value residents place on the town’s iconic trees, Willis said. It encourages builders to accommodate trees, making them front and center when projects are designed, versus paying significant mitigation fees, Willis said.

To help lesson the impacts, the council agreed to exclude commercial developments that don’t have residences from the higher mitigation fees.

Another change from the original proposal is that Town Council would not hear requests from property owners to remove trees. That would fall to the Design Review Board.

Courtney Worrell, CEO of 303 Associates LLC, a real estate development and management company and also representing the Chamber’s Lowcountry Land Council, said it’s easy to paint all developers with a broad brush as seeking to spoil the land and clear cut trees.

“But that’s not the Lowcountry Land Council,” Worrell said.

She said she supported the adjustments the town made to the ordinance to help keep the door open to responsible commercial business.

This story was originally published April 12, 2023, 8:25 PM.

No violation found: Ethics complaint against former Port Royal official dismissed

The South Carolina Ethics Commission has dismissed a complaint filed against the former head of the Port Royal Redevelopment Commission, finding no probable cause that an ethics violation occurred, but the...

The South Carolina Ethics Commission has dismissed a complaint filed against the former head of the Port Royal Redevelopment Commission, finding no probable cause that an ethics violation occurred, but the case may not be over.

At issue was whether Bernadette Clayton used her public position as the Redevelopment Commission chairperson to help Friends of the Port Royal Cypress Wetlands, where she served on the board of directors, in obtaining a $39,000 T-Mobile grant in late 2021.

In a Feb. 3 ruling, the South Carolina Ethics Commission cleared Clayton, writing it could find no evidence that she used her public position to gain an economic interest for Friends of Port Royal Cypress Wetlands.

“I’m delighted that they saw the facts and ruled the way they did,” said Clayton, who had previously described the complaint as frivolous. “I felt confident that’s the way it would happen, but until they officially did it, it was a weight on my shoulders for over a year.”

Clayton is no longer chairperson of the commission and has since moved out of the area.

Mare Deckard, a former member of the Redevelopment Commission who filed the complaint, said she isn’t giving up. She has new evidence, she says, from documents she received from the town sometime after she filed the initial complaint. She says she plans to ask the Ethics Commission to reconsider its original finding based on that newly acquired evidence.

Complaints can be refiled with new allegations.

Deckard first proposed that the Redevelopment Commission apply for the T-Mobile grant to help fund economic development initiatives in the town. Friends of Port Royal Cypress Wetlands, a not-for-profit that promotes the wetlands, later applied for the “hometown” grant for use on the wetlands boardwalk, amphitheater and observation deck projects.

Deckard filed a complaint with the Ethics Commission, claiming Clayton violated State Ethics Law, which requires that a public member of a board recuse themselves if they have an economic interest in an issue that’s before the board.

Clayton served on the Redevelopment Commission from May 1, 2018, until her resignation on June 15, 2021, when she also served on the board of directors of the Friends of Port Royal Cypress Wetlands.

The issue first came up at May 18, 2021, when Deckard sparked a discussion about whether the Redevelopment Commission had the authority, on its own, to apply for grant funding without approval from the town. Deckard noted that T-Mobile provided grants for projects to build community spaces. Deckard thought it was OK for the commission to apply for such grants on its own, but other board members questioned whether that was allowed.

Clayton wasn’t at the meeting but watched it the next day, on May 19, and using her personal email account asked Town Manager Van Willis, Mayor Joe Devito and fellow Redevelopment Commission members Kevin Phillips and Virginia Eads about the commission’s authority to unilaterally borrow or receive money. Willis replied that the board did not have the authority to act alone.

Clayton later reviewed the grant information that was available on T-Mobile’s website and concluded that it could be a potential source of funding for the Friends of Port Royal Cypress Wetlands.

On May 26, Clayton emailed Willis using her Friends of Port Royal Cypress Wetlands email address and asked for the support of the town in the group’s application for the grant but received no response, according to the Ethics Commission ruling.

On June 15, 2021, Clayton resigned from the Redevelopment Commission Board but remained on the Friends of Port Royal Cypress Wetlands Board, which on Aug. 9 discussed applying for the grant the following quarter. On Sept. 24, 2021, with letters of support written by town officials, the not-for-profit applied for the grant, which was awarded Dec. 8, 2021.

In its ruling that Clayton did not violate the state ethics laws, the Ethics Commission noted that Clayton was not present at the May meeting where the T-Mobile Grant was first discussed. And in her May 19 email to her fellow board members, she referred only to general grant funding and the Redevelopment Commission’s authority to pursue grants without approval from the town.

“Moreover, the quarterly grant funding applied for and received by the Friends of Port Royal Cypress Wetlands was distinct from that discussed by the Redevelopment Commission,” the Ethics Commission ruling stated. “The application for the quarterly grant discussed at the May 18, 2021, Redevelopment Board meeting was due June 30, 2021.

“Not only did the Redevelopment Commission not meet again prior to this deadline, but the application for the grant funding applied for and received by the Friends of Port Royal Cypress Wetlands was for the following quarter. Because the grants were awarded on a quarterly basis, the Friends of Port Royal Cypress Wetlands had no economic interest in the quarterly grant funds discussed by the Redevelopment Commission on May 18, 2021.”

This story was originally published March 7, 2023, 5:00 AM.

1,600 housing units in development in Port Royal. Is another apartment complex needed?

A developer’s request that land be annexed into Port Royal prompted a rare split vote from the Town Council on Wednesday after a councilman raised concerns about another apartment building being cons...

A developer’s request that land be annexed into Port Royal prompted a rare split vote from the Town Council on Wednesday after a councilman raised concerns about another apartment building being constructed on the property and the pace of the town’s growth.

Town Council members voted 4-1 to annex 12.1 acres at 450 Parris Island Gateway, where Beaufort Mobile Home Park is located, and zone it T4 Urban Center. There are about 50 mobile homes on the property now.

A specific development application has not been submitted for the Parris Island Gateway property, but the annexation request came from Gateway Holdings, a developer of multi-family housing.

Kevin Phillips, who voted no, says he’s concerned about the possibility of an apartment complex being constructed on the annexed property and about the displacement of the residents.

The town already has 1,600 housing units in some phase of development, with most of them apartment complexes or townhouses, Phillips said. And if 1,600 units are built, with an average of two people per unit, it will total 3,200 people, Phillips said.

That comes on top of 2020 Census results that showed Port Royal’s population had increased 33.2%, jumping from 10,678 in 2010 to 14,220. Beaufort, meanwhile, grew 10.1%, from 13,170 to 13,607.

The population increase and growth in housing units in such a “fast and drastic time frame,” Phillips said, “is concerning to me” because of the strain on future services that could force the town to raise taxes or cut services to keep up.

Phillips said he also is concerned with the message the town is sending in approving the annexation given council members have publicly discussed the importance of adding more commercial development and “trying to get away from apartment complexes.”

“I think that it’s important to have consistent messaging from leadership,” Phillip said. “Why are we saying we don’t want apartment complexes and still voting for them.”

Mayor Joe DeVito said he understood Phillips’ point about the town wanting to encourage additional commercial development.

“We want commercial development, and we’re doing everything we can to do commercial development,” DeVito said.

But DeVito added that the council was voting on annexation and zoning, not apartments. Specific development plans for the property, DeVito said, will come later and based on his experience nobody can say for sure what will be constructed on the site.

“20 years on the Planning Commission, when somebody comes in front of me and says, ‘We’re going to build something,’ I don’t believe what they say until they put a permit in front of me,” DeVito said. “It’s the underlying zoning that’s the most important. The underlying zoning does allow commercial if it makes sense.”

If he were a developer of the 12.1 acres, DeVito said, he’d look at proposing some small businesses that could serve residential development in the area.

The property, DeVito added, is located in an area originally designated for residential use and it’s also within the town’s growth boundary.

In speaking with the developer, Planning Director Noah Krepps said, it’s possible that commercial properties could be developed on the front of the property.

“It could very well be mixed use,” Krepps said. “That’s not a promise, but it is a possibility even with this developer that is a largely multi-family developer.”

Prehistoric-looking bird is nesting in this Lowcountry sanctuary. ‘They dwarf an eagle’

A huge wading bird that looks kind of like a prehistoric pterodactyl has taken up residence ...

A huge wading bird that looks kind of like a prehistoric pterodactyl has taken up residence at Cypress Wetlands in Port Royal this spring, nesting and producing young.

Birders are beside themselves.

“Having proof that we have wood storks actually breeding here in the Lowcountry at a special place like Cypress Wetlands is such great news,” says Jenn Clementoni, a seasoned birder and master naturalist who serves on the board of Friends of Cypress Wetlands.

Bald-headed wood storks, which are white with 5 1/2-foot wingspans, began making appearances at Cypress Wetlands in the 2000s, Clementoni said.

But this year, they have arrived in greater numbers. And they are nesting for the first time.

Clementoni also has documented two roseate spoonbill at Cypress this spring, another unusual-looking bird that stands out.

Younger roseate spoonbills are pale pink while adults are a vibrant magenta pink.

“The more shrimp and crabs they eat around here, the pinker they get,” Clementoni says.

Clementoni believes more wood storks and spoonbills are coming to the area because of a loss of habitat in areas such as the Everglades in Florida.

“What they’re doing now is migrating north and trying to find new territories,” Clementoni says.

The northward migration of the birds is a good case for why preservation of the Lowcountry wetlands is important, Clementoni said. It also “shows what proper stormwater management can do,” added Clementoni. Cypress Wetlands serves as a stormwater management system that collects and manages stormwater for the town of Port Royal.

Clementoni has counted 16 wood stork pairs this year including five that are nesting and one that has produced a pair of baby wood storks. The wood storks have colonized one tree, she said.

With the big wing span and long, knife-like beaks, wood storks are turning heads at Cypress, where hundreds of egrets and heron species congregate in colonies to nest and roost.

“People aren’t used to seeing them so they are fascinated,” Clementoni says.

To Clementoni, their prehistoric features make them look similar to a pterodactyl, the flying reptile of the dinosaur days.

“They dwarf an eagle,” Clementoni says of wood storks.

Another unusual feature is their knees, which buckle backward.

Rosetta spoonbills and wood storks are both wading birds that feed in shallow water so Cypress is a perfect place for them because it doesn’t have large tidal swings, Clementoni says. They also are social, meaning they will use the same colonies.

With wood storks now colonizing at Cypress Wetlands, Clementoni is hopeful that spoonbills will begin nesting there, too.

South Carolina now accounts for 20% of the wood stork population, according to the Audubon Society. The species is a common nesting bird from coastal Mexico and northern Argentina throughout interior South America, the Caribbean islands of Cuba and Hispaniola and north to the southeastern United States, including Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.

This story was originally published April 28, 2023, 3:10 PM.

‘Tired hotel’ in Port Royal is being turned into tiny new apartments. Here are the details

A company with a mission of creating housing it says working people can afford is overhauling an old Port Royal hotel on Ribaut Road into 145 new studio apartments that will rent for $1,000 a month....

A company with a mission of creating housing it says working people can afford is overhauling an old Port Royal hotel on Ribaut Road into 145 new studio apartments that will rent for $1,000 a month.

El Segundo, California-based Vivo Living, the developer, is a private real estate investment and property management company that specializes in recycling “tired hotels” into apartments with pricing it says is “attainable,” with the goal of solving the nation’s housing crisis.

“We need to be very creative in coming to the table with new types of housing so we can start to fill in the need across the country and find alternatives that aren’t so expensive,” Vivo Living spokesperson Leslie Moody said.

Rents for the studio apartments ranging in size from 228-282-square feet in the former Days Inn at 1660 Ribaut Road — about the size of a college dormitory room — will be $1,000-$1,050, which includes most of the utilities and wireless internet.

“Renovation rather than new construction saves time and money — savings which take the form of lower rents than comparable apartments in the area,” Moody says.

Each unit will include air conditioning, a cook top, cable, stainless refrigerator and a microwave. Additional amenities include fitness and laundry care centers, on-site parking, a pool and co-working space.

A colorful mural painted on the front of the apartments greets visitors. It features a Marine saluting a flag in addition to a Lowcountry scene highlighting wildlife and the water. The apartments are located within a few miles of both Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in Port Royal and Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.

The $1,000 rent for a studio apartment is an indicator of the high rents across Beaufort County, says Angela Childers, executive director of the Beaufort Housing Authority, which provides affordable housing to low- and moderate-income families and individuals.

“That’s a lot of money for a tiny space,” Childers said, “but, we’ll take what we can get.”

In other markets, $1,050 could buy almost double the floor space of Vivo’s studios in Port Royal and yet Vivo will be offering one of the most-competitive rates in the area, Childers said, adding that some housing at affordable rates is always better than no housing.

Rent for studios at Vivo Living Port Royal will be more than $200 less than the average rent for a studio apartment in Beaufort County, which is $1,267, Vivo Living’s Moody said.

Vivo prices its units to be affordable to those who earn 80% of area median income to make them reasonably priced to the workforce, Moody said.

The hotel-to-apartments conversion project comes amid concerns about the affordability of housing across Beaufort County. UShousingdata.com says Beaufort County has the fourth most expensive fair market rent in the state.

Last year, Beaufort County, in cooperation with a multitude of the southern Lowcountry’s municipalities, joined together to create a regional housing trust fund. All participating municipalities contribute yearly to the fund, which will then be shared between the entities and used to establish more affordable housing projects.

If the project is successful, then affordable housing projects should become more common across the southern Lowcountry in the next decade.

“We’re pricing ourselves out of being a functioning and inclusive community,” the Housing Authority’s Childers says.

Housing projects that cater to the young workforce are essential to a thriving community, Childers said. When those workers can’t afford to live in the area, they move elsewhere leaving vacancies and staff shortages for many low paying jobs.

Construction is continuing Vivo Living Port Royal, Moody said. The units will available for rent sometime between April and June.

The Port Royal apartments will be Vivo Living’s first project in Beaufort County and the third in South Carolina, with the other properties in Greenville and North Charleston. The company, launched in 2020, now has 25 properties across the country.

“We love to find properties like this former Days Inn which were once great but have fallen into disrepair,” Moody said.

Vivo leverages its renovation expertise and in-house property management to “make obsolete buildings like this one, beautiful and useful again, turning eyesores into critically needed, attainably-priced housing,” Moody said.

Vivo Living also prefers sites where residents can get around the area on foot or bike. And the Port Royal location, Moody noted, is near the Spanish Moss Trail and Sands Beach.

This story was originally published March 27, 2023, 5:00 AM.


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