We’ve got Behemoths on the B.A.R. Agenda June 3

Update June 5 – The BAR ruled as follows:

  1. Jasper – DENIED.
  2. Apartment Building – WITHDRAWN.
  3. Hotel – APPROVED.

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Three Behemoths to be precise. Three projects so large, so complex and so controversial, they had to have their own separate meeting happening June 3 at 4:30PM in the Charleston Museum Auditorium (because many many many people will be attending). I say they are behemoths because in Charleston, don’t forget, we like our buildings short and small for the most part. Our church spires should rise above all, our water vistas should be maintained, and our architecture should be memorable. On the docket for review will be:

1. The Sergeant Jasper – 13 stories.

2. An Apartment Building –  7 stories.

3. A Hotel – 9 stories.

Let start with my favorite and by far the most controversial. All images below were taken from the public presentation available here until June 4.

The Sergeant Jasper – 310 & 322 Broad Street

You may recall reading my earlier post about the Jasper coming down with my musings about what was going to be in its place. The first proposal of a series of low, wide, 4 and 7 story buildings, with Planned Unit Development (PUD) zoning was struck down by an angry public. A jeering, angry, button-wearing public. So, the Beach Company went back to the drawing board and returned with a design that their current grandfathered and antiquated 3X zoning allowed – a 20-story building that would tower over any other on the Peninsula.  Ahem. That didn’t go over so well either. So now they have submit a design for the third time, bringing the main tower height down a bit as part of a mixed-use development that includes luxury residential units, office space, neighborhood retail space and almost 600 parking spaces.

My personal opinion outside of the neighborhood context?? I think the architecture is stunning, and an example of what is appropriate for Charleston. But it’s humungous.

The Jasper - View from Broad Street

The Jasper – View from Broad Street

Moving on to the next behemoth…

East Central Lofts Phase 2 – 601 Meeting Street

Currently near the corner of Meeting Street and Huger Street, right under the highway, you’ll find the East Central Lofts, a lofty 72-unit apartment building that recently sold for $12.4 million to a new developer. The building is 43,000 square feet and four stories tall.

Phase 2 of this project will dwarf this. Chomp on these numbers for a second – 7 stories, 222,000 square feet total with 274 apartments and 15,600 square feet of ground floor retail/office space. Gack!!!  It is so big, I can barely fit the screen shot into this post.  For reference in the image below, Phase 1 – the original East Central Lofts is that smallish building on the left hand side.

East Central Phase 2 - View from Huger Street

East Central Phase 2 – View from Huger Street

What’s even more important about this project, is that if approved, it will join more than 1,000 other apartments planned or under construction in a half mile radius.  That influx of people in this relatively quiet industrial/residential area blows my mind.

But don’t forget, we’ve got the final behemoth joining it across the street – the hotel….

The Hotel – 600 Meeting Street

We’ve seen this one come back to the BAR again and again since 2013, when I wrote about its total flame out.  This new proposal is 9 stories tall, with some ground level retail space on Huger Street, and a rooftop restaurant (yay!). I can’t tell how many rooms are proposed (around 170??) but given that the site is more than 1.5 acres it’s ALOT.

The Hotel - View from Huger Street

The Hotel – View from Huger Street

So, there we have it.  These three buildings are just the start of behemoths on the Peninsula (though of course there are already others), but with the entire WestEdge development, Courier Square and more to come, we better get used to high density living and the pros and cons it brings, or just get the heck out.

 

 

2 Responses to “We’ve got Behemoths on the B.A.R. Agenda June 3

  • Tom Grubisich
    2 years ago

    Kris,

    Thanks very much for this heads-up on the possible “behemoths” coming to town. I don’t have any animus against high density, but I wonder if the proposed developments are too “busy” in their architecture. Andrew Duany says high density can work on the Peninsula, but he cautions about architects getting carried away with elaborate cornices and other such touches that are misguided attempts at being be respectful of Charleston’s historic look. Duany urged Charlestonians to examine the high rises they have, like the Mills Hotel, Peoples Building and the Fort Sumter House — see http://www.jou.ufl.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/UFCJC_CaptivateUs_5-5-15.pdf — and notice how they are distinguished without having a lot of geegaws. One of my favorite examples of great urban architecture is the Seagram Building on Park Avenue in Manhattan. It has majesty, and it’s achieved without any look-at-me adornment. As its architect, Mies van der Rohe famously said, “Less is more.”

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