With the fresh coat of fabulous drying on the three open-air sheds at the City Market, crews will soon begin work on the big one. The City of Charleston has approved a $3.4 million renovation of the long front shed that has long served as the postcard image of the City Market and downtown Charleston.

Hank Holliday, one of the leaders of the City Market Preservation Trust, told City Council last week that this was the ambitious final phase of the larger $5.5 million makeover designed to make the market area more attractive to locals and more of an experience for tourists.

Like the previous renovations, the city will be removing on-street parking along the market walls to provide for better access to the shops. Inside, the snake-like maze design will be abandoned. Sketches suggest it will be replaced with a large, open walkway with narrow shops along each side of the building, similar to other metropolitan market designs.

“We’ve done our homework and found what works and what can be effective,” says local architect Glenn Keyes

As a restaurateur and hotelier in the Market area, Holliday has a vested interest in the project’s success, and he expects similar benefits for all neighboring businesses and residents.

“This rising tide is going to lift all boats,” he says. —Greg Hambrick