See where Charleston’s booming – by looking at the Board of Architectural Review agenda

BAR Agenda Title

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.

Please note: all the images below were taken from the publicly available BAR agenda, accessed here.

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.


Moving on…

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.

morrison drive birds eye view


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.

6 Responses to “See where Charleston’s booming – by looking at the Board of Architectural Review agenda

  • Great post!

    1. My friends play rugby at that land now, I think– so they’ll be sad its leaving– I’m wondering how the eventual place will look. I do like the idea of low-income senior housing– alot of cities do this and it’s a great way to get affordability, bring a little diversity to areas that might NIMBY.

    2. Morrison has a ton! of potential for growth in Penninsula. Not alot of chance of Nimby-ism (nobody lives there!), though I’m hoping it’s not too suburban in nature. The parking under the bridge might scare people if it’s not well lighted and hopefully is landscaped well so people feel comfortable walking/biking.

    3. I just discovered Barre St (I’m getting married over there next year) and couldn’t believe it was in downtown– something you’d see in James Island or something (no sidewalks, weeds, growth). That’s a great look for the area– though I can see them cutting back the number of houses.

    • Thanks so much for your comment! From what I know – the park, Concord Park, now known as something else, will actually become very beautiful. It might not be rugby friendly, but one can hope! And you are right about the Barre project – over there it looks nothing like Historic Charleston, probably because it used to a mill pond until they filled it in a bit. 🙂

  • Loving your posts – Dreaming of Charleston from DC!

  • Chris Latta
    11 years ago

    Hi Kristin,
    I love your newsletters – helps me feel closer to Charleston (I live in Seattle). Any update on Villa Margherita (sp)? So curious about the progress on that project. Thank you!

    • Hey Chris! I am glad my newsletters give you a little taste of CHS! 🙂 No new updates on the Villa, it’s still shrouded in mystery. But the minute I see something happening you can be sure I’ll post about it! Have a great week!

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  • Surprise! New on the B.A.R. Agenda – Another Hotel | :

    […] 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 […]

    11 years ago

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