If you see Charleston native Michael Wooddy cozied up at the end of Edmund’s Oast’s bar, chances are you’ll assume he’s like the rest of us Lowcountry folk: he’s there to wash down the delicious farm-to-table fare with a few local brews. And while that part may be true, he also happens to be a key player in how Edmund’s Oast—and its neighboring businesses like Blue Acorn and SIB—made it to the up-and-coming location in the first place.
Before Wooddy found himself in the world of commercial real estate development, the former Mt. Pleasant resident studied at College of Charleston, where he admits he had to ask for directions around town during his first semester. “Back then there was a big separation between Mt. Pleasant and downtown. Even though there was only one bridge, we just never came down here,” he explains.
My, how things have changed.
After brief stints at financially based jobs in New York City and Houston, Wooddy and his wife found themselves back in the comforts of the Lowcountry, where he eventually began working with Stephen Zoukis. And thanks to the realignment of the Ravenel Bridge, they saw an opportunity in what’s now referred to as Half Mile North. (Wooddy credits Stephen Zoukis’ wife in coining the term.)
“We knew it was a good location, but we didn’t understand how central it was until several months after that,” Wooddy explains. Originally planning to transform the former warehouse space into a local food producers market, Wooddy and Zoukis met Edmund’s Oast owners Rich Carley and Scott Shor. Soon after, large tech companies followed suit, drawn to a space that offered a convenient location, more room and plenty of parking for employees.
“I’m hopeful this will be the catalyst for the area,” he notes. “Every time I hear someone new coming here, I think ‘the rising tide lifts all.’”