R.B.’s Seafood Restaurant Closes; Iconic Shem Creek Property Sells for $7M

Staff Report From Charleston CEO

Thursday, April 30th, 2020

Iconic Shem Creek eatery R.B.'s Seafood Restaurant has closed its doors, and the property at 97 Church St. has been sold to Geyer Capital Management LLC of Atlanta for $7 million.

Charleston Commercial, a key player in the local commercial real estate market, brokered the deal. The company -- led by C. Kendrick and managing director Joshua Schaap -- is skilled at handling both high-profile and complex deals in the heart of downtown Charleston and around the region.

Long-time R.B’s Seafood owner Ronnie Boals said leaving the restaurant business after almost 60 years is bittersweet, but he’s ready to retire. Due to some health issues, Boals hasn’t been as active in the daily restaurant operations. Now, he’s looking forward to traveling and some volunteer work. Boals and his wife live in Mount Pleasant.

R.B.’s Seafood already had closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.  

In 1979, Boals opened the original R.B.’s Seafood Restaurant on Shem Creek in an old fish shed. In 2002, fire destroyed Boals’ restaurant, but he rebuilt and reopened in September 2003. R.B.’s Seafood is an icon on Shem Creek, now known as a go-to spot for locals and tourists looking for a mix of restaurants and waterfront dining.

Geyer Capital Management has plans to renovate and upgrade the property before it reopens with a new tenant.

Boals has been a fixture in Charleston’s food and beverage industry. At one point, he owned six restaurants in Mount Pleasant, on Johns Island, in downtown Charleston and in North Charleston. Over the years, Boals built other properties on Shem Creek. About 10 years ago, he got out of all his other business ventures, focusing his attention on R.B.’s Seafood.

He’s already missing the restaurant, but it was time for a change, he said.

“It’s been a great business. We had a lot of dedicated repeat customers,” Boals said. “I’m going to miss seeing them come in and out.”

Broker Kendrick said orchestrating this deal and securing a qualified buyer for Boals was important in protecting such a symbolic Shem Creek property.

“Ronnie has done so much for Mount Pleasant and the Shem Creek area. We are thrilled to find a buyer who appreciates this special area and is committed to adding value to our community,” Kendrick said. “We are confident Geyer Capital will continue Ronnie’s legacy on Shem Creek.”

Charleston Commercial recently developed another space in Mount Pleasant, 1223 Ben Sawyer Blvd. Schaap completely redeveloped two small buildings into one building that now houses two retail tenants: Mulberry & King, women’s clothing, shoes and accessories boutique, as well as Coastal Collective, an aesthetic and wellness medicine practice.

Charleston Commercial’s experience with complex zoning issues, utilities and historic properties makes it uniquely positioned to facilitate commercial real estate sales, acquisitions and developments in historic and iconic areas of the Lowcountry.

While Charleston Commercial has worked on several projects in downtown Charleston, they are looking for additional opportunities in Mount Pleasant and around the greater Charleston region.

Over the last three years, Charleston Commercial has brokered or participated in 19 property acquisitions in downtown Charleston, totaling more than $74 million. The company was part of one of the largest deals of the last decade, consisting of eight properties from six property owners in a landmark deal bordered by King, Society and George streets.