Charleston's Growing Entertainment District
Business and Economics
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The research that follows addresses numerous topics of interest: nighttime economies; the regulation of establishments with liquor licenses; gentrification; mixed-use neighborhoods; and the assurance of quality of life for residents in liquor license-dense vicinities. The study location is King Street in Charleston, South Carolina, which is one of the main retail, residential, and tourism-focused corridors of the city. The upper blocks of King Street, between the cross streets of Calhoun and Canon Street, were specifically studied as this area has undergone a rapid transformation. Merely ten years ago, locals did not frequent this area, it was of no interest to tourists, and it was regarded as a neighborhood that one would not want to walk through, especially at night. Many historical buildings sat vacant and in disrepair. Since the turn of the century, this area has seen a steady influx of retail businesses and for many years it was regarded as Charleston’s “Design District”. Even more recently, however, upper King Street has experienced a profound influx of liquor-licensed establishments. This paper considers, via a purely qualitative approach, the effects that this burgeoning nighttime corridor currently has and will have on other businesses, residents, and the Charleston community as a whole.