Prior to 1940, the Fleet Landing location was the home of the Cooper River ferry that shuttled folks across the river to Mt. Pleasant and the surrounding neighborhood barrier islands. That year, a hurricane struck Charleston and badly damaged the Cooper River Ferry building. The U.S. Navy landed in 1942 and tore down the ferry building to construct the current Fleet Landing building. The Navy utilized the building for off-loading sailors (some to the brig), supplies, general maintenance and re-supplying of ships. Around 1970, the Navy retired the use of the Fleet Landing building for good.
In 1988, when a 21-year-old Tradd Newton pointed out the unique building to his mother and made the prediction “One day, I’m going to put something in that building,” the structure was in disrepair. Fast forward 16 years and Newton, with the guiding vision of Charleston-based architect Reggie Gibson and his wife/business partner, Weesie, is seeing his dream realized.
In 1998, the Piggly Wiggly Carolina Company, Newton’s family business, purchased McCrady’s restaurant. The four-story brick building, erected in 1788 by Edward McCrady and located at 2 Unity Alley in downtown Charleston, had been the site of several celebrated but financially challenged restaurant ventures since the 1980s. The turn-around project was assigned to Newton who rescued McCrady’s from the brink of bankruptcy and successfully turned it into a AAA Four Diamond restaurant that earned accolades from Wine Spectator and Esquire. With the success of his initial foray into the hospitality industry, Newton established himself as a young restaurateur to watch. Fleet Landing marks the first solo project for Newton, in what he anticipates being a series of exciting restaurant projects in the years to come. “Since I first had the thought of opening a business in the Fleet Landing building,” says Newton, “I envisioned a quintessential Lowcountry seafood restaurant with an unparalleled view of the Charleston Harbor. Fleet Landing captures it perfectly.”