When Charleston booms, so does the Board of Architectural Review (BAR) approval agenda. Normally a mix of house additions or renovations, sign approvals, and a smattering of commercial building renovations or constructions, the most recent agendas have been full of Downtown Charleston game changers. We’ve seen proposed designs for new hotels and infill on Meeting Street, building renovations on Upper King Street, and today will be no different.
In about half an hour, the BAR is meeting to discuss three big items (among other things) so I thought you’d like to see these projects which give you insight into where Charleston’s next boom is. Even though you know I certainly have strong opinions about the architecture, I’ll refrain from detailed commenting (mostly) so you can form your own opinions.
Laurens Street (William Terrace Senior Apartments)
I thought I’d shock your system right from the start. This proposal is for new senior housing (classified as affordable) to replace the old affordable housing that was torn down many years ago in Ansonborough, on what was formerly environmentally hazardous land. In this part of town you’ll find the Aquarium, The Maritime Center, Class A office buildings, luxury condominiums, and the proposed and potentially future site of the cruise terminal. Located on the corner of Laurens and Washington Street, right at the beginning of the future State Ports Authority land development ‘knitting’ this area back into historic Charleston – you’ll find this.
930 Morrison Drive
As you know from the news, my blog, or your own personal experience, Morrison Drive is hot hot hot. Hot for local businesses, restaurants, and now, some infill housing. This proposal is for a 5-story mixed-use (mostly apartments) building right at the base of the Morrison Drive exit off the Ravenel Bridge.
I have to say, they got the actual street ALL wrong…it looks nothing like that. And funny enough, another multi-story apartment building called East Central Lofts, is nearing completion just a few blocks away on Huger Street. The ever-popular TacoBoy is right in between.
And now let’s go back to my neighborhood…
53-63 Barre Street/70-78 Halsey in Harleston Village
Long vacant lots, with a couple 1970s brick ranches and some empty beer bottles, occupied the last undeveloped part of Harleston Village. This project proposes the construction of six row homes to fill in this spot. To me, they don’t look unlike the historic row homes on Bull Street between Rutledge and Ashley. My favorite part of the design is the roof deck because you’ll get some great sunset views over the Ashley River.
If they price these right, and fix the flooding in that area, these shouldn’t last long.
So, what do you think about these three projects? Any comments? Critiques? Questions?
I recommend attending a BAR meeting at some point in the future if you have a few hours to spare. They are formally conducted, often very interesting, and occasionally emotion or anger inducing. Without their oversight, the City would not be a beautiful and preserved as it is today – so let’s thank our lucky stars we have them, whether we agree with their decisions or not.