New development nabs Blue Acorn as tenant

By Liz Segrist
Published Oct. 14, 2013

Blue Acorn, a Charleston-based e-commerce company, plans to employ up to 25 more employees and expand into a new development, Half Mile North, in downtown Charleston.

Blue Acorn, which uses data to help brands and retailers from around the country sell more goods, has maxed out its space at the corner of Rutledge and Huger streets in downtown Charleston with the addition of roughly 20 employees this year for a total of 55 employees currently.

Renovations have begun to repurpose warehouses and buildings off Morrison Drive in downtown Charleston into a creative office space. (Rendering/Provided) Renovations have begun to repurpose warehouses and buildings off Morrison Drive in downtown Charleston into a creative office space. (Rendering/Provided)

It plans to have up to 80 employees next year and move into the new development in the first quarter of 2014.

“Looking at our growth trajectory, we need to find at least twice the space we have now,” Blue Acorn CEO and Founder Kevin Eichelberger said.

The Raven Cliff Co., the developers of Half Mile North, want the space to serve as a headquarters for “Silicon Harbor,” the name coined for the influx of tech firms starting and growing in the region.

Half Mile North won’t be limited to tech firms, however, said Stephen Zoukis of the Raven Cliff Co., who is co-developing it with colleague Michael Wooddy.

“There are a lot of companies with business models, such as design firms, that may not fall under the definition of ‘tech,’ but they are in the same camp as tech companies in wanting to be part of an interesting neighborhood with certain kind of office feel,” Zoukis said in a news release.

Renovations have begun to repurpose warehouses and small buildings on nearly an entire block between Morrison Drive and Meeting, Brigade and Williman streets in downtown Charleston. Phase one will be complete next year and phase two is set for a mid-2016 completion.

Blue Acorn will move into a 12,000-square-foot building in 2014, with the option to expand into a 6,000-square-foot building in a few years. Office designs will include open, collaborative space and private work areas as well.

Eichelberger began searching for a central location that would offer parking, bike lanes, bus routes and amenities nearby, in addition to more space.

In addition to Blue Acorn, Half Mile North’s first tenants include SIB, an expense management firm, which will relocate from Meeting Street, and Edmund’s Oast, a new brew pub started by the Charleston Beer Exchange founders.

Fabric Urban Design Office will design the interior space and The Middleton Group will serve as the project architect. Remark Landscape Architecture Studio will do the landscaping.

“As a tech company, our work requires a lot of conservation and collaboration,” Eichelberger said. “I wanted to design an office that would have a healthy mix of openness to work together and private space to concentrate.”

Eichelberger said it’s possible that Blue Acorn could expand to another market in a few years.

Eichelberger founded Blue Acorn nearly six years ago in Atlanta. Six months after opening, he moved the company to Charleston.

Today, up to 75% of its hires are recruited from outside of Charleston. The company runs a three-month training program for new hires.

Reach Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119.

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