Update 9/26 – Well, apparently the BAR was not too impressed. They motioned “Denial of height, scale, mass and architectural direction” – with a 7-0 vote. Yikes!
As I wrote about back in May, sometimes what you see on the Board of Architectural Review (BAR) agenda gives you insight into where Charleston’s next boom is. We all know now that hotels are popping up all over the place in the Historic District and on King Street. Heck, they just broke ground on the $80,000,000 project at the base of Spring and Cannon on King Street this week, and the old library has been demolished (you know how I felt about that) to make way for a new 8-story luxury hotel at a cost of $70,000,000+. But here’s a new one that may take you by surprise.
Google this address: 600 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29403.
Yup – that location is right next to I-26 and the Ravenel Bridge on-ramp to Mount Pleasant, way up yonder. A hotel? Now wait a minute? Isn’t that vacant land, right under the highway, kind of in the middle of nothing? Isn’t that near the area where TacoBoy made their first foray and we all thought they were kind of crazy? Well, look who’s pretty smart now.
On the September 25 agenda, we see this: (all images courtesy of this publicly available presentation)
And for a little context, look at this:
Here’s the super context by me, courtesy of a little iPad app called You Doodle.
Aside from Palmetto Brewing, which I think has been there since 1993, none of these existed prior to 2007. Those East Central Lofts? Just finished building them…DaSano’s Pizza? Getting ready to open, but already sited by Eater Charleston as one of the Top 8 Openings to Watch this Fall. (Eater is a fantastic site by the way, I highly recommend you follow it if you are into food and restaurants.) The new apartments at 930 Morrison Drive? Still in the works – but can you imagine what will happen to Huger Street if the Lofts are joined by the Hotel and the Apartments? We’re talking major foot traffic – from a handful of people, to potentially hundreds and hundreds, and quite a visual transformation. There’s your next big boom.
So. What do you think about all that? I know that it has been the intention of Mayor Riley for some time to improve the official ‘entrance to Charleston’ off I-26, which for many visitors has been a race down the somewhat-gritty-wilds of Upper Meeting Street, often causing much confusion and consternation about the charming historic city they thought they had booked a vacation in…Personally, I’ve always loved the mix of the old and the new, the grit as well as the glamour – it gives our city depth and visual interest. But there’s no stopping progress, right?