South Carolina Film Commission Offers a Beautiful Visionary Reel of the History of Film in South Carolina

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South Carolina has offered a beautiful background for many critically acclaimed independent and major film releases.? With its endless skylines, majestic mountains, bold horizons and restored historic geography, South Carolina has been a seamless supporting actor in so many of our favorite films from “The Notebook”, to “The Patriot” to “Cold Mountain” and more.

  • Did you know “The Abyss” was filmed in Gaffney, South Carolina?
  • Did you know “Sleeping with the Enemy” was filmed in 3 South Carolina cities?
  • “Cold Mountain” offers scenes of Edisto Beach and Moncks Corner….and so much more you will learn.

The South Carolina Film Commission has put together this timeless fourteen minute reel outlining some of the great cinema filmed in our great state.

This video will bring back personal memories and you may even shed a tear.

Make some popcorn, pour a nice glass of wine and enjoy this celebration of film in South Carolina.

1Kept Charleston: Lunch Edition – Cookin’ With Booze Restaurant Review

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By Cookin’ with Booze

The fact that I’ve written three separate posts about this restaurant should indicate just how unique every experience is. Their dinner menu varies from schnitzel to shrimp and grits, so I knew the lunch menu would have to be something special to keep up

1Kept is in an ideal location to pop in for lunch after a long morning of shopping on King Street. They offer appetizers, classic Southern sandwiches with a twist, and larger plates for their hungrier guests. We got to sample a few of each, so keep reading so you know what to get when you go.

The appetizers

Normally when Sydney (Queen of the Food Age) and I go out to eat, we always just ask for what the chef/staff recommends. In this case, the manager recommended the fried okra and the pimento cheese board to start.

Okra is not really my jam, but when it’s fried and cut horizontally like they do at 1Kept, the slime factor is completely eliminated. I know it’s easy to make something taste better by frying it, but for me you have to have a light batter with a nice spice to it. The spice of the okra breading was matched seamlessly with their house-made hot sauce. Let me tell ya folks, I was snacking on these like popcorn throughout the meal.

The pimento cheese board was the epitome of Southern Hospitality. Nothing says: “Welcome to my Restaurant” like a bowl of the South’s favorite spread surrounded by grilled bread, pickled veggies, and other spreads for the ultimate flavor combos. The perfect bite was the pimento cheese with their house made bacon jam, whole grain mustard, and tomato jam on the grilled bread. It was the perfect mix of sweetness, tang, saltiness, and spice from the mustard.

the dish on the main dishes

I was super excited to try their burger because we got to see my dear old friend pimento cheese again along with some other tasty toppings. There was also peach BBQ sauce, Cement Pickle Relish, and super crispy bacon. The “cement pickles” were the star of the show because they’re the chef’s great grandma’s recipe, so you know it has to be good. The cement pickles were unique because they were very crunchy to the point of almost being dry, then the inside burst with warm spices like cinnamon. Overall, this burger was an adventure with every bite with different flavors and textures.

Our next main dish was their cacio e pepe, which is basically a fancy mac and cheese with freshly cracked black pepper. This dish is pure decadence with the creamy cheese, spicy pepper, and runny egg yolk creating more saucy goodness for the dish. If you’re looking for a comforting dish, this is the one to get.

Since I’ve written about this place twice, it is no longer my 1Kept secret (had to do it). Whether you go for lunch or dinner, you can’t go wrong with their unique twists on Southern classics. I just need to try their brunch and I’ll have all my meals covered!

Is Charleston County Spending Its Budget Properly?

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By Mark A. Leon

The approved fiscal 2017 Charleston County Budget Narrative is 483 pages.? Not an easy mass of context, graphs and images for the average person to swallow.? Perhaps that is why the allocation of spending has been overlooked and areas that need critical assistance are being grossly underfunded.? As citizens, we have an obligation to be informed, thus we are able to make the proper decisions and have the right conversations with our elected officials to ensure our children’s education, healthcare, infrastructure and common well being are funded properly.

Summary of General Funding

Expenditures and other uses for all operating funds total nearly $480.0 million for FY 2017, a $4.0 million increase from the previous year.

The largest increases in the General Fund represent an additional $3.4 million in EMS and $1.7 million in the Sheriff’s Office due to the annualization of costs related to the public safety expansion in FY 2016. The second significant increase in the General Fund is an additional $3.3 million in Facilities Management which represents the transfer of annual recurring maintenance related to roofing, heating/cooling, and paving from the Capital Projects Fund (not included in the annual operating budget) to the General Fund. The third most significant increase is in the Special Revenue Fund. The newly enhanced Public Works: Stormwater Drainage program resulted in a $2.1 million increase.
Here are a few simple understandings about where our tax money is spend and where it is generated.
  • The total spent on Economic Development, Education and Health / Welfare is 26.6 Million.? All three combined is 6.9 Million less than Culture and Recreation spending (26% more)
  • General Government funding is higher than economic development, education, culture/recreation, health/welfare, public works and judicial combined 131.6M vs. 123.3M
  • 0.033% of the 2017 fiscal budget is spent on Health/Welfare in the county that has the largest health system in the state.
  • 393.5 Million or 82% of our intake funding comes from property taxes, sales tax and fees.
  • Only 15.8 million more is taken in by sales tax than property tax (146M vs 130.2M),? Yet, the average home price in Charleston County has gone from 150K to 252K (2000 – 2017).
  • US News and Worlds Report ranks South Carolina last (50 out of 50) in education, yet Charleston County sets 6.6M (0.014%) on Educational spending.

This generates a level of concern that needs addressing.? Charleston County is home to the largest healthcare system in the state of South Carolina and currently the state ranks in the lower quarter of Opioid related hospitalizations and fatalities, yet we utilize 0.033% of our annual budget (16.1M) toward health and welfare.? With an education system that is overcrowded and the quality of education so poor, why only 0.014% (6.6M) being allotted for educational spending?? In the state of South Carolina, only 40% of residents have a completed four year degree yet we are bringing in quality jobs from Boeing, Volvo, BMW, BenefitFocus and more.

With the rise of crime in the Lowcountry, one could account for 101.3M or 21% going toward public safety, yet this accounts for almost double the spending on set aside for public works.? When we are desperately in need of infrastructure and road improvements while hotels are going up as fast as a child with a box of Legos, does that make sense?

Economic development is 3.9M (0.008%) which is not enough to fund job training programs, career counseling and quality job creation in technology, design, management and business.

We invite you to review the narrative and begin to have those important discussions.? Given that Charleston has recently been deemed one of the most fiscally sound cities in the United States, it seems priorities are still a little mixed up on how our money is spent and it is time to let yourself be heard.

Appendix – Graphs / Charts

Where is the funding coming from?

Cambria Hotels Breaks Ground on Charleston, S.C., Riverfront

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(PRNewsfoto/Choice Hotels International, In)

ROCKVILLE, Md., Nov. 20, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH), along with RREAF Holdings and New Castle Hotels & Resorts, broke ground on the Cambria Hotel in Charleston, S.C. The Cambria Charleston Riverview, a 126-room hotel is located at 84 Ripley Point Dr. on the Ashley River, and is slated to open early in 2019 and will be built by Freese Johnson Contractors of Atlanta.

The Cambria Charleston Riverview is perched on the marshes of the Ashley River, just minutes from Charleston’s Historic District. The hotel’s location provides quick access to everything that the area offers, in addition to the Medical University of South Carolina complex and the College of Charleston.

“The Charleston Riverview property is in a prime location right near downtown, making it the perfect fit for the modern traveler. We look forward to working with RREAF Holdings to build their first Cambria, and providing guests with an upscale lodging option where they can treat themselves while on the road,” said Michael Lusick, vice president, upscale operations at Choice Hotels.? “With Charleston being one of the fastest growing cities in the country, we’re excited to continue the Cambria brand’s rapid expansion in this key market. The Cambria Charleston Riverview will be one of three Cambria Hotels in the area, including Mount Pleasant, which also recently broke ground, and North Charleston.”

To commemorate the occasion, local artist Norma Ballentine presented an original painting of the city’s iconic pineapple, a symbol of hospitality and welcome, to the developers, RREAF Holdings, a privately held commercial real estate firm and New Castle Hotels & Resorts, a leading third-party hotel management firm.

“We traditionally focus our investments in Texas, Tennessee and the Florida panhandle, but we could not pass up the opportunity to enter a highly competitive market, like Charleston, and reset the bar for a compelling growth brand like Cambria Hotels,” said Kip Sowden, CEO of RREAF Holdings. “We have every confidence that our development and operating partners will deliver an outstanding return to our investors.”

Charleston is acclaimed for its storied history, beautiful architecture, unique character and its classic southern hospitality. Charleston is also a high barrier-to-entry market,” said Cord Middleton, Regional Partner, RREAF Southeast Region. “Our site, with its irreplaceable location on the Ashley River, provides an opportunity for a locally focused, upscale brand like Cambria to enter a market that might otherwise have been unattainable. That’s a great benefit for investors and the travelling public alike.”

The Cambria Charleston Riverview will include 1,300 square feet of multi-function meeting space, a full-service bar featuring local craft beer, and a state-of-the-art fitness center. The property also has spacious and comfortable rooms, along with spa-like bathrooms that offer contemporary fixtures, refined surfaces and abundant light.

“Tremendous air lift, and its distinctive character make Charleston a popular choice for both business and leisure travelers,” noted Gerry Chase, president and COO of New Castle Hotels & Resorts, which will operate the hotel. “Travelers seek out local relevance when choosing hotels and now Choice Hotels’ more than 33 million Choice Privileges members will have a brand new upscale option that pays tribute to the local culture when they visit this iconic city. There is a reason that both Travel+Leisure and Conde Nast readers rank Charleston the top city in the U.S. and Canada.”

About Cambria Hotels
Cambria Hotels are designed for the modern traveler, offering guests a distinct experience with simple, guilt-free indulgences allowing them to treat themselves while on the road. Properties feature compelling design inspired by the location, spacious and comfortable rooms, flexible meeting space, and local freshly prepared food and craft beer. Cambria Hotels is rapidly expanding in major U.S. cities, with hotels open in Chicago, New York City, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. There are now 32 Cambria properties open across the United States, and there are more than 100 hotels open or in the pipeline in the U.S. and Canada. To learn more, visit

About Choice Hotels
Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH) is one of the world’s largest hotel companies. With over 6,500 hotels franchised in more than 40 countries and territories, Choice Hotels International represents more than 500,000 rooms around the globe.? As of September 30, 2017, over 800 hotels were in our development pipeline. Our company’s Ascend Hotel Collection?, Cambria? Hotels, Comfort Inn?, Comfort Suites?, Sleep Inn?, Quality?, Clarion?, MainStay Suites?, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel?, Econo Lodge?, Rodeway Inn?, and Vacation Rentals by Choice Hotels? brands provide a spectrum of lodging choices to meet guests’ needs. With more than 33 million members, our Choice Privileges? rewards program enhances every trip a guest takes, with benefits ranging from instant, every day rewards to exceptional experiences, starting right when they join.? All hotels and vacation rentals are independently owned and operated. Visit us at more information.

About RREAF Holdings
RREAF Holdings?is a privately-held commercial real estate firm based in Dallas, Texas.? Formed in 2010 to develop high quality projects, create programmatic acquisition platforms and provide superior service and value to a wide range of investors from institutional capital partners to high net worth individuals, RREAF has a history of success in the acquisition, development, asset management, ownership, repositioning, and financing of complex real estate projects throughout the United States.? Please visit for more information.

RREAF SE, is the southeast regional partnership of RREAF Holdings, Cord Middleton and Randy Warner, the regional partners. RREAF SE will expand the footprint of RREAF Holdings acquisition and development programs in the Carolinas, Georgia and Northeast Florida and the Charleston Cambria Riverview Hotel is its first venture.

About New Castle Hotels & Resorts
Shelton Connecticut-based New Castle Hotels & Resorts, an award-winning independent third-party hotel manager, owner and developer with 25 hotels and resorts and nearly 4,000 rooms under contract or in development.? New Castle’s growing portfolio of hotels spans nine states and two Canadian provinces, including several historic landmark hotels and resorts.? The privately-held company was established by CEO, David Buffam in 1980 and consistently ranks among the top hotel management and development companies in North America.? For more information, please visit


SOURCE Choice Hotels International, Inc.

Featured Charleston Food Blogger: Cookin’ With Booze, “My 9 Favorite Places to Eat/Drink North of the Crosstown”

By Elise DeVoe – Cookin’ With Booze

For the past three years I ?lived in the heart of downtown Charleston and established my favorite places to eat/drink in my general vicinity. Now that I’ve graduated, I moved about a mile up the peninsula, which feels like 10 miles in Charleston distance. I’ve started to establish my new favorite eateries above the Crosstown (highway that goes through Charleston) and I figured I would share them so my fellow neighbors know where to get their grub/drink on.

1. Tattooed Moose

I lie awake at night thinking about the duck fat fries at Tattooed Moose; that’s how good they are. They are served with a garlic aioli that I’m convinced would make a piece of cardboard taste good. Definitely come to Tattooed Moose hungry because their meals are rich and filling. One of their sandwiches could put me in a happy food coma for weeks. Speaking of their sandwiches, the Duck Club is a must-try as well as their burger. You really can’t go wrong with anything there.

2. Revelry Brewing

With so many breweries in Charleston, it’s hard to choose which one to go to. I choose Revelry because it is conveniently located and they have a bomb rooftop. To complement the beer, they have a both Asian and Latin inspired dishes to munch on while you’re sippin’. They have also helped me branch out on my beer choices/ learn more about different types of beer that aren’t grapefruit shandy or Corona.

3. Faculty Lounge

The Faculty Lounge is one of my favorite happy hour spots, mostly because it’s ridiculously close to my house. During happy hour they have a selection of drinks ranging from $1-$6. For $1 you can get a “dad beer” and for $6 you can get the “Dealer’s Choice,” which is a cocktail crafted specifically for you. When I got the Dealer’s Choice for the first time, I just told the bartender I liked tequila and she crafted a spicy tequila drink that keeps me coming back for more. They also have pool and some delicious ramen, which makes it an ideal hang out spot.

4. Taco Boy

Guilty as charged, I definitely started going to Taco Boy before I moved above the Crosstown. I might’ve moved solely to be closer to their delicious margaritas… who knows… Regardless of my motives, Taco Boy is a reliable source of great drinks and tacos, so I will continue to be a loyal customer. Get their casa margarita, some street corn, and 2 fried chicken tacos and you will be one happy camper

5. Moe’s Crosstown

You can find me at Moe’s on any given Sunday watching the Panther’s game and chowing down on their classic bar food. Their fried mac and cheese is to die for. The breading is well seasoned and the inside is mac and cheese..need I say more? They also have half off burgers on Tuesdays, so you really can’t go wrong. I had their Patty Melt the last time I went and it was ooey gooey cheesy madness (in a good way). Definitely a great place to get apps and drinks or a full-blown dinner.

6.? Rodney Scott’s Barbecue

Barbecue joints are pretty much on every corner in Charleston, so it was easy to find a new go-to spot. I love the barbecue meat itself, don’t get me wrong, but honestly I’m all about the sides. I feel like the sides really make the meal, and Rodney Scott’s has their sides down pat. Their greens were definitely some of the best I’ve ever had and their cornbread was sweet deliciousness. To make something good even better, Rodney Scott’s has a drive thru (which could be dangerous for my health, but oh well). If you haven’t checked them out yet, get there and order their greens as your side, you won’t be disappointed.

7. The Harbinger

If I need to get some work done, The Harbinger is my go-to because I can treat myself to some baked goodies and coffee while I work. They have a variety of grab and go items as well as some tasty pastries. Although they have a wide variety of unique pastries, I usually am in the mood for the “Best Friend” cookie. The Best Friend cookie is basically a chocolate chip cookie taken to the next level. It has 3 different types of chocolate chunks, pearl sugar, and topped with sea salt. It is pure comfort and the perfect balance of sweet and salty.

8. Leon’s

Whenever my parents are in town, Leon’s is the first place my dad asks to go because he is an oyster fiend. I share his love of oysters, so it works out well. I am a big fan of their Fried Oyster sandwich. The “Comeback” sauce definitely lives up to its name because I keep coming back. I also am obsessed with their Brussels Sprouts. I grew up thinking Brussels Sprouts were stinky and gross because my dad microwaved them and it smelled up the whole house. Now that I’ve had them done the right way, I try them at a lot of places I go.

9. Harold’s Cabin

Harold’s Cabin is unique in both the atmosphere and food. They drew me in with their $5 cocktails on Thursdays and I keep coming back for the food. If you’re looking for apps, definitely get the hush puppies and the smashed fries. Some of the ingredients come directly from their rooftop garden, which I think is an amazing accomplishment in itself. Speaking of the garden, my favorite cocktail involves their fresh rosemary grown in that garden. When you go, get the Salty Raccoon, which is tequila (obviously), fresh rosemary, lime juice, and smoked sea salt. Maybe I will try and replicate it home from the rosemary in my garden.

If you are looking for spots where the tourists can’t get to you, eating north of the Crosstown is the way to go. If you try any of these places, you will not be disappointed!

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Charleston is the fastest gentrifying city in the United States according to a new report by

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Charleston, South Carolina is the fasting gentrifying city in the United States according to a report from Back at the turn of the millennium, the median price for a home in Charleston, South Carolina, was just $152,100. By 2015, that number had spiked 77.5 percent to $270,000.? Let us see how the rest of the top 10 fared with Charleston leading the way.

1. Charleston, SC

Newer buildings sit behind Charleston's historic waterfront, while cranes are a testament to even more construction.
Newer buildings sit behind Charleston’s historic waterfront, while cranes are a testament to even more construction.SeanPavonePhoto/iStock

Gentrification potential achieved: 62.5%
Median home price increase, 2000 to 2015:?$152,100 to $270,000 (+77.5%)

The issue of gentrification exploded in Charleston in 2001, when Shoreview Apartments, a large, low-income housing project downtown, was razed to the ground to make way for an upscale community of single-family homes. Other neighborhoods that had long been solidly African-American working class also saw a shift toward white, middle-class families. Since 1990, Charleston’s?black population has declined from 42% to 23%, according to the Census Bureau.

2. Asheville, NC

Colorful murals enliven the quirky West Asheville neighborhood.
Colorful murals enliven the quirky West Asheville neighborhood.George Rose/Getty Images

Gentrification potential achieved: 50%
Median home price increase, 2000 to 2015: $125,000 to $235,000 (+88%)

Back in 2000, Rolling Stone called Asheville “America’s new freak capital,” attracting an eclectic population of hippies, artists, and musicians. Today, tourists flock to its craft beer breweries, and gated golf communities sell homes for prices as high as $6.5 million—but the quirky, creative characters who once defined the city are vanishing.

Vincent’s Ear, an iconic dive bar where the White Stripes played before they became famous, has been replaced by a high-priced eatery. In the River Arts District, which a city report describes as being “in the middle phase of?gentrification,” two?dozen artists were displaced?in 2014, when their buildings were ordered to close because of fire hazards. The site is currently being renovated, and the hope is that some units will be affordable for artists, according to photographer Jeremy Russell, one of those who were kicked out.

But the newly upscale neighborhood isn’t for everyone. “Some artists definitely moved away [from Asheville] … those who are more progressive, and pushing the boundaries,” Russell says.

3. Washington, DC

New apartments are reflected in the window glass of a trendy cafe in Washington's Shaw neighborhood.
New apartments are reflected in the window glass of a trendy cafe in Washington’s Shaw neighborhood.Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Gentrification potential achieved: 39.4%
Median home price increase, 2000 to 2015: $159,900 to $525,000 (+228.3%)

At the beginning of this century, DC Mayor Anthony Williams had ambitious plans to revitalize the city’s depressed?neighborhoods. Today, the Navy Yard (home of the Nationals’ new ballpark),?NoMa, and Columbia Heights have shed their dingy image and become the new “it” neighborhoods.

“There are a lot more things to do—restaurants, bars, shopping like Best Buy and Target. It’s very convenient,” says?Andrew?Wiseman, a resident of Columbia Heights since 2007 who?runs the blog New Columbia Heights. However, he adds, “the reactions to the changes are really mixed. Families that have been here for generations don’t like it. Local retailers are being pushed out, corner stores are closing.”

4. Portland, OR

A display of colorful doors masked a Portland homeless encampment in 2012.
A display of colorful doors masked a Portland homeless encampment in 2012.George Rose/Getty Images

Gentrification potential achieved:?33.9%
Median home price increase, 2000 to 2015: $148,000 to $340,000 (+129.7%)

Hmmm … could the trendsetting Portland really have achieved only 33.9% of its gentrification potential? Well, yes, since our analysis starts with 2000, and the poster child for the modern hipster movement was ahead of the curve.

“Gentrification in Portland is not a new phenomenon,” says Katrina Holland, executive director of Community Alliance of Tenants in Portland. “Since the 1960s and ’70s, there has been serial displacement of the African-American community. Now it’s the first time that white, middle-class families are also being priced out.”

Perhaps that’s why lots of “urban pioneers” are ditching Portland for places like Detroit, in search of a cheaper?cultural scene.

5. Denver,?CO

A 5-year-old boy sits next to signs protesting the lack of affordable housing in Denver.
A 5-year-old boy sits next to signs protesting the lack of affordable housing in Denver.Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Gentrification potential achieved: 32.8%
Median home price increase, 2000 to 2015: $162,000 to $316,000 (+95.1%)

We’ve noted it before: The Denver market is hot. Scalding, in fact. The booming tech industry, outdoor lifestyle, and more recently, Colorado’s legalization of marijuana have drawn transplants and starry-eyed developers to the city.

The North Denver neighborhoods of Globeville and Elyria-Swansea are going through significant changes. Depending which day you visit the area, it either smells of legal weed—due to a high concentration of marijuana businesses—or dog food from the nearby Purina factory. But three multibillion-dollar?developments?have lifted property values by?60% from 2013 to 2015, and residents saw?their property taxes increase by as much as $600,?according to?Stephen Moore, policy director for FRESC, a nonprofit organization working with?low-income communities.

“Many of our historical black and Hispanic communities are being destroyed explicitly by gentrification,” Moore says. “We are not against investment in those communities, we want?that. But we’d?like to see more policies that protect the people that live there now, and help them stay.”

6.?Nashville, TN

Lower Broadway in Nashville is famous for its country western music.
Lower Broadway in Nashville is famous for its country western music.FangXiaNuo/iStock

Gentrification potential achieved: 27.6%
Median home price increase, 2000 to 2015: $118,400 to $205,000 (+73.1%)

Every day, the Nashville metro gains 71 to 100 people. The city’s entertainment and health care industries bring in a steady flow of wealthy transplants. East Nashville, where the city’s musicians and artists have long resided, was on the frontline of gentrification.

“The most significant change in the last 10 years was the influx of builders, because the houses here were?old and cheap,” says Realtor? Cindy Evans of?RE/MAX Choice Properties, who moved to East Nashville in 1980. “After the commercial areas were?built, young professionals moved in—for the amenities more than the housing.”

But since?the urban core is still relatively inexpensive, Nashville is experiencing intense speculation by developers and investors.

7. Sacramento, CA

The urban skyline in Sacramento shows new office buildings adjacent to older apartments.
The urban skyline in Sacramento shows new office buildings adjacent to older apartments.photoquest7/iStock

Gentrification potential achieved: 26.5%
Median home price increase, 2000 to 2015: $127,500 to $255,000 (+100%)

Thanks to?decades of urban redevelopment and to its affordable real estate, Sacramento—just a couple of hours east of San Francisco—is?seeing an influx of?young professionals and well-off empty-nesters. Midtown, a former hard-knock neighborhood, has been taken over by stylish white-linen restaurants and pricey new condos.

The latest wave of gentrification has also hit?Oak Park, a historically black neighborhood where Patti Miller, owner of Patris Studio Gallery, moved 20 years ago.

“It was a?ghetto, and rent was really cheap,” Miller says, adding that artists, because they often can’t afford much, “are usually dealing with the grittier side of a city.”

In the past decade, the rents got?higher and Miller’s?artist friends began?to leave—for Oregon, Arizona, and even South America. Miller nearly lost her gallery to developers in September. And?what’s in Oak Park today? Trendy locales like “holistic spa” Capitol Floats, where?customers spend $65 for an hour of relaxing in lukewarm saltwater.

8. Jersey City,?NJ

The Jersey City skyline by night
The Jersey City skyline by nightUltima_Gaina/iStock

Gentrification potential achieved: 24.5%
Median home price increase, 2000 to 2015: $142,000 to $380,000 (+167.6%)

It wasn’t long ago that downtown Jersey City was more of a punch line than a destination stop, typified by vacant lots and abandoned tenements. Now, its falling crime rate has made it safer for?families, and new condos are going up at a rapid clip.

With Manhattan just over the river, Jersey City offers a relatively easy commute and more affordable homes than the fast-track meccas of gentrification nearby, like the more desirable?parts of Brooklyn.

The housing market is also driven by wealthy foreign buyers, says?Saquib Rahim, a sales associate from?Coldwell Banker. “In the rental market, New Jersey has rent control, so renters are protected from huge rent increases. But local businesses are being priced out, for sure.”

9. Long Beach, CA

Octavio Orduno, 103, leads a pack of local cyclists through the streets of Long Beach, CA.
Octavio Orduno, 103, leads a pack of local cyclists through the streets of Long Beach, CA.Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Gentrification potential achieved: 22.4%
Median home price increase from 2000 to 2015: $179,000 to $455,000 (up 154.2%)

In downtown Long Beach, developers are turning all kinds of buildings—even a former department?store—into high-end condos. The previous industrial hub with rundown buildings is now a residential community, with amenities like boutiques, craft breweries, and restaurants.

The average rent downtown is now $2,645, according to Rent Jungle. Who’s paying those prices? A 2016 report by the Downtown Long Beach Alliance showed that the largest number of downtown residents were?“metro renters”—young, educated singles who love the arts and spend money on the newest technology.

“Millennials are moving in for walkability and bikeability—there are custom bike lanes and bike-share stations,” says Realtor Jason Patterson from?RE/MAX College Park Realty, who represents a waterfront condo building selling for $729,500 a unit.

10. Austin, TX

A high-rise condo under construction in Austin contrasts with the low-rises nearby.
A high-rise condo under construction in Austin contrasts with the low-rises nearby.Ty Wright/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Gentrification potential achieved:?22.2%
Median home price increase from 2000 to 2015: $152,600 to $299,300?(96.1%)

Many residents tout the unofficial motto, “Keep Austin Weird,” but they may be fighting a losing battle. Condos and upper-income apartments are popping up everywhere, driving up rents and home?prices as developers cash in on the city’s trendiness.

For years, East Austin residents have decried gentrification. In 2006, a local nonprofit?had about 250 people?on a waiting list for affordable housing, but that number had?risen to 700 by 2015. The previously forgotten neighborhood with a largely African-American and Latino population began?to get attention in the early 2000s. As?Austin’s population grew, people from outside the community were drawn to the low rents of the area close?to downtown. The result was a wave of new developments, and now East Austin?is rebuilding a fancier, more congested?version of itself.

* Our methodology considered a?Census Tract?eligible for gentrification if it had a population?of more than 500 people, and both median household income and median home value fell within the?bottom 40th percentile of all tracts within its metro in 2000.

Of those eligible tracts, a tract was further considered gentrified?if it had experienced?a?significant increase in median income, median home value,?and?educational attainment between 2000 and 2015.

The ranking is based on the share of gentrified?tracts out of a city’s total eligible tracts. The final list included only cities that had more than five gentrified tracts.?

Data were collected from the sales database, American Community Survey, and the US2010 project of Brown University’s Russell Sage Foundation.?We consulted research methodology from a?2005 Columbia University study?and a 2015 Governing magazine report.?


The Marcus Effect: Finding Satisfaction and Value in any Job

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By Mark A. Leon

How does one find value in their job? That is a question that has been studied, analyzed and reported on for hundreds of years. As the scope and look of jobs change, the variables of work change, but the one common denominator will always be the same: You/Employee/Associate/Team Member!

Is value measured by ROI? Is it measured by your salary? Perhaps by the performance results in your assessment? For some it is a commission check while others find value in their benefits and/or vacation time. Some feel the number of hours worked in a week will translate to value while job security is critical to others. We can continue listing personal value choices until we run out of data storage space for this piece but value can be simplified to several key elements.

  • Value and personal work satisfaction does not translate directly to the level of seniority or responsibility in the organization
  • Personal satisfaction is as important if not more important than performance assessments, wage, and rewards/recognition
  • The level of commitment one puts into their role has positive correlation to job satisfaction levels
  • If an employee is happy with what they are doing, he/she will give more effort and feel more dedicated to the job and the company
  • “Giving 100%” is not a cliché but a way of life

At this moment, many of you are wondering why I have titled this installment, The Marcus Effect?
Marcus is a hospitality maintenance technician whom I met in Myrtle Beach and now resides in the Charlotte area. Marcus is a very talented and versatile professional with exceptional knowledge of home repair, plumbing, cleaning and general maintenance. That alone should provide him job security and value with the hotel and its guests but Marcus goes beyond the traditional elements of a job description and takes a personal interest in his guests. To Marcus, the hotel guests are an extension of his family. Does he invite them home for Thanksgiving if they are alone and away from family? No but he would.

What differentiates Marcus from the rest of his staff is the incidentals he performs beyond the scope of his role.

1.) If a co-worker had an emergency he would work a double to cover or even an overnight shift
2.) If a guest needed a ride to a restaurant or the airport, he would take them
3.) If a guest appeared sad in the lobby, he would tell a joke or provide comfort and company
4.) If a cup of coffee was near empty, he would offer to refill it. Of course coffee is free in the lobby.
5.) He always puts guests needs ahead of his own. If he is on a break and an emergency arises, he will suspend his own free time.
6.) He shows genuine interest in his co-worker’s families and their well-being

What would spur on this type of extraordinary behavior from a maintenance technician.

Does he believe in the mission of the company?
Does he believe in the value he provides to the customers/guests?
Does he believe his behavior will lead to a promotion?
Does he believe in karma and is hoping all this will lead to better things for him and his family?
Is he just happy?
Does he love the pay and benefits?
Is he the type that is good-natured?
Does he want to be challenged and diversified in his work activities?

All of the above, but so much more.

I heard a comment once “There are no bad jobs, just bad workers”

If you owned your own company would you want one administrative assistant that worked 150% of the time and loved his/her job as that attitude extended to customers, colleagues and suppliers or ten CEO’s that worked at 50% capacity and had a negative persona extending out to its customers and shareholders? That is a very interesting question. Rather unrealistic but it poses room for thought.

What has made my friendship with Marcus flourish is that I was around for the birth of his daughter, I have been invited to stay with his family when I have been in town and I have even stored my car there while on business travel. Couple that will a joke when I need one and a level of dedication that you traditionally do not see in most friendships or business relationships and you have a gift. He possesses warmth that has no separation between work, family and life. He is who he is: A truly dedicated human being who believes in the good of others and the desire to help others.

In the workforce, there have been studies on what motivates employees. Is it money, benefits, value added, level of responsibility or opportunity for career growth. All elements play into one’s decision to join a firm and to stay. What drives Marcus is the knowledge each day he is positively affecting the lives of others. What he loves a great deal is that each day, he meets new people from various places bringing with them cultural elements and lifestyle differences. No matter what they social status or way of life, he adapts and greets with a smile.

To me, Marcus encompasses all the soft elements of what I look for in an employee. If I could hire ten of him or even just one, it would make my company a better place to work.

When you look at your own job, regardless of how others view it, if you are satisfied and adding value, you can’t ask for more than that.

To Marcus and the Marcus Effect. I hope we all feel it now or someday.

Surreal Charleston: A Look at the Lowcountry in Black and White

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By Mark A. Leon

Imagery captures a moment.? It is forever secured for generations to come.? Photography is the historian of modern day existence and critical to ensuring we respect our surroundings and remember our past.

We took some time around the Lowcountry to capture some of my most favorite places in black and white and a little noir.? Enjoy this visual tour of the Lowcountry as seen through the eyes of a black and white lens.

Morris Island Lighthouse / Folly Beach


Broad Street – John The Baptist Church


St. Philips Church in the darkness


Folly Beach Pier


Dock Street Park – James Island


Magnolia Plantation


Gazebo at Magnolia Plantation


Quiet morning on the College of Charleston Campus


College of Charleston Cougar


Magnolia Cemetery


Fourth of July on Folly


Bowen’s Island Restaurant


Old Charleston Post Office on Broad Street


Cannon Park – Medical District


Unitarian Church Cemetery


Folly Pier


Arthur J. Ravenel Bridge


Photo Credit:? Mark A. Leon










East Cooper Meals on Wheels Receives New 2018 Subaru Outback

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MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. – East Cooper Meals on Wheels has won a 2018 Subaru Outback from Subaru of America Inc. On Nov. 16, Crews Subaru of Charleston presented the Mount Pleasant-based nonprofit with the vehicle as part of the annual Share the Love event, a national effort that donates to causes in the local community.

In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the company’s “50 Cars for 50 Years” vehicle donation program allows East Cooper Meals on Wheels to deliver nutritious meals and moments of companionship to even more people.

“We are thankful to Subaru of America and Crews Subaru of Charleston for their dedication to the Charleston area community,” said George Roberts, CEO of East Cooper Meals on Wheels. “This new Outback will allow our organization to serve even more individuals in Mount Pleasant who are homebound – regardless of age or income.”

“Thanks to the help of dedicated volunteers, East Cooper Meals on Wheels prepares and delivers more than 400 meals per day, 365 days per year,” Roberts said. “So, we will definitely put some miles on this new Subaru Outback.”

This fall, 50 new 2018 Subaru Outback vehicles will be donated to select Meals on Wheels programs throughout the county. Those vehicles will help deliver an estimated 53,000 meals to an additional 3,700 individuals across 39 states. The donation also addresses the Meals on Wheels network’s growing demand for fuel-efficient, versatile and safe delivery vehicles.

“Crews Subaru is proud to be a part of the Charleston community. We are dedicated to serving and supporting the causes closest to our hearts, right here in our neighborhood,” said H. R. Hicks, general manager at Crews Subaru of Charleston. “This comes directly from our local owner Robert Crews, who encourages us to give back, be a positive partner, and be there for the community that has given us so much. We continue to be blessed.”

The Subaru and Meals on Wheels partnership is part of Subaru Loves to Help, a pillar of the automaker’s larger Subaru Love Promise Community Commitment effort dedicated to making a positive impact on local communities across the country. Each 2018 Subaru Outback donated will be delivered to local retailers and wrapped with Meals on Wheels America and Subaru Loves to Help co-branding.

Subaru of America Inc. has supported Meals on Wheels for the last nine years through Share the Love, contributing more than $12 million to Meals on Wheels America and providing more than 1.7 million nutritious meals, friendly visits, and safety checks to people in communities nationwide.

About East Cooper Meals on Wheels
East Cooper Meals on Wheels delivers daily nutrition to residents within its service area (Mount Pleasant, Daniel Island, Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island, Cainhoy or Wando) who are homebound or unable to provide their own meals. Recipients have physical or mental limitations or short-term physical limitations (such as recovery from surgery or chemotherapy). The organization also advocates on behalf of recipients whose needs exceed the scope of its program. For more information, visit

For more information, contact:
Melissa Nelson, Fisher Creative 843-312-2950 Ken French, Crews Subaru 843-224-3222


Tiger Lily to Add Second Location on James Island, Renovate Downtown Retail Store

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CHARLESTON, S.C. – After more than 20 years in business, Tiger Lily is opening a second location on James Island, giving locals even more access to Charleston’s favorite florist.

Tiger Lily is purchasing the 4,000-square-foot building at 1614 Camp Road and renovating the space into a state-of-the-art floral design studio and retail shop. Tiger Lily will maintain a retail space at its current location at 131 Spring St.

Owners Manny and Clara Gonzales said they are looking forward to giving residents of James Island and West Ashley easier access to a Tiger Lily retail shop and design studio while maintaining a presence in the Cannon-Elliottborough neighborhood of downtown Charleston. The couple purchased the Spring Street location in 2004, renovating the abandoned 1920s service station. For their efforts, they were awarded the prestigious Carolopolis Awards from the Preservation Society of Charleston.

The Gonzales’ will renovate the James Island building using as many green building practices as possible, including solar panels. The floral design studio, wedding services, storage and administrative offices will be moved to the James Island location. The building is designed with an open-concept format, giving customers a chance to see the floral artisans at work.

A portion of the Spring Street building will be renovated for a slightly larger retail shop, and the remaining 5,800 square feet is available for lease.

The renovated downtown retail space and the new shop on James Island should be open in late May 2018.

“We want everyone to know we’re staying downtown and simply adding another location in James Island to give our customers even more access to our services,” said Manny Gonzales. “We love this downtown Charleston neighborhood and we love this space. Buying this building was the best decision we’ve ever made. We won several architectural awards for Spring Street, and we want to do the same with the new Camp Road location.”

Over the last two decades, Tiger Lily has established itself as a leader in the Charleston floral industry with its attention to customer service, its floral design excellence for weddings and its charitable efforts. The company regularly partners with area nonprofits for its Charity in Bloom program, and Tiger Lily participates in the annual “Petal It Forward” program giving away hundreds of flowers. Tiger Lily has been named Charleston’s Best Florist since 2000.
About Tiger Lily
Inspired by the beauty and sophistication of Charleston, Manny and Clara Gonzales started Tiger Lily in 1996. Their goal was simple: Be the best florist in Charleston. Since then, Tiger Lily has grown to be the largest florist in South Carolina and has been Voted “Charleston’s Best Florist” every year since 2000. For more information, visit or stop by the shop at 131 Spring St., Charleston.