Choice begins development on Charleston Cambria hotel

The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by members of Choice Hotels, New Castle Hotels & Resorts, RREAF Holdings and Freese Johnson Contractors.

Choice Hotels International, along with RREAF Holdings and New Castle Hotels & Resorts, began development on a new Cambria Hotel in Charleston, S.C. The Cambria Charleston Riverview, a 126-room hotel, will be located at 84 Ripley Point Dr. on the Ashley River, and is slated to open early in 2019. The property will be built by Freese Johnson Contractors of Atlanta.

The Cambria Charleston Riverview is perched on the marshes of the Ashley River, minutes from Charleston's Historic District. The hotel's location provides access to local offerings, 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," Michael Lusick, VP, upscale operations at Choice Hotels, said in a statement. "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."

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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 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," Kip Sowden, CEO of RREAF Holdings, said in a statement. "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," Cord Middleton, regional partner, RREAF Southeast Region, said in a statement. "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 traveling public alike."

The Cambria Charleston Riverview will include 1,300 square feet of multifunction meeting space, a full-service bar serving local craft beer and a fitness center.

"Tremendous air lift, and its distinctive character make Charleston a popular choice for both business and leisure travelers," Gerry Chase, president and COO of New Castle Hotels & Resorts, operators of the hotel, said in a statement. "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."