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Spartan

Downtown Developments (North of Calhoun)

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Upper King Street is definitely the place to be. There is an article in the P&C today about all of the activity that is going on there. And its a lot more than I thought. I guess this article also shows that we've been slacking off a little in the Charleston forum... <_< Anyway, read on. This gets interesting.

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This is my favorite quote froim the article:

"It's a development formula, supported by city officials, that's aimed at creating lively urban streets full of people. Price said he pictures Upper King Street eventually being more urban than Lower King Street, and not unlike the residential areas of lower Manhattan."

Keep in mind that lower Manhattan has places like Greenwich Village that are dense and urban, but not overpowering with skyscrapers. I would rather them use analogies from Boston... Beacon Hill, Back Bay, etc. in terms of style (though hopefully not price!)... maybe the North End as well. Regardless of the analogy, hopefully this will ultimately mean more people living downtown.

The article also provides us with a handy list of the development proposals... and this is just Upper King:

The pieces

Midtown

A 100- to 150-room hotel, condominiums, retail shops and parking are being considered for this 4-acre site running from Meeting Street to King Street. Several historic buildings on the site would have to be preserved.

Tara

Tara Hospitality Corp. has filed plans to build a 180-room hotel with a spa, rooftop pool, restaurant, a dozen condos and a 187-space parking garage. Part of the site is currently occupied by Burris Liquor, which would relocate.

400 Meeting St.

A five-story building with 34 condos and 25 townhomes is planned at Meeting and Reid streets, with units pre-selling for $339,000 to $715,000.

The Courtyards

Charleston-based Bennett-Hofford Co. anticipates redeveloping its pink, 159-unit apartment complex at Meeting and Mary streets, but has no specific plan or timetable.

Mixed use

Several developers have announced plans for smaller projects that will combine retail, office and residential space, in new or renovated buildings. Several projects will include some below- market-rate residential units.

PrimeSouth

PrimeSouth Group and Price Capital Holdings have assembled a 3-acre parcel with frontage on King, St. Philip and Radcliffe streets. A mixed-use development is planned, though no details have been announced.

School of Law

The Charleston School of Law owns a building on Mary Street, signed a letter of intent last year to buy the BellSouth building at Meeting and Mary streets, and owns a mostly-vacant 1.25-acre site at Meeting and Woolfe streets, where future development is planned.

Streetscape

From Calhoun to Carolina streets, King Street has been getting new bluestone sidewalks, fresh pavement with underground utilities, new lamp posts and street trees and brick crosswalks. The city beautification program that started in 2005 should be complete in May.

Rail line/greenway

The unused end of a Norfolk Southern rail line runs between King and Meeting streets. The city would like to see a greenway there, and is studying the potential for passenger rail service to Summerville.

Hilton Hotel

An eight-story, 185-room Hilton Hotel is planned at Marion Square, on the site of the former Charleston County Public Library. Preservation groups are challenging the city's approval of zoning for the project.

Millennium

Developers are planning an eight-story structure with condominiums, offices and ground-floor shops and offices, on the site of several buildings that house Millennium Music and other shops, which would be demolished.

Federal Building

The city plans to redevelop the long-vacant, asbestos-contaminated Mendel Rivers Federal Building across from Marion Square. There are no firm plans, but officials have expressed interest in seeing a mix of residential and commercial uses on the site.

Boutique hotel

The Stoney Co. and developer Deborah Rice-Marko are considering a 66-room inn on John Street.

Holiday Inn

A five-story addition will add meeting space and 37 new rooms

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I think this shows that Charleston has the greatest potential for successful real urbanism in SC. They have the right mentality, and they are making it happen with the right goals in mind. I can't wait to visit Charleston in a few more years! :)

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^^ Great article and great analysis Spartan. I agree, there is more going on than I was aware of.

I STRONGLY urge that someone take some pics of these areas now, because it will look SO VERY different in just a few years. There is no better example of urban excellent than Charleston.

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Now that was one awesome and very impressive article. I think what could very well be considered the most urban corridor in the Carolinas is about to get even more urban. This is pretty exciting! Man, I've got to get back down to Charleston really soon.

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I wonder if the Midtown project or perhaps one of the other projects (Millenium) listed could be the site of a Department store. We know that high-end retailers like Nordstrom/Neiman Marcus are being looked at for the Daniel Island retail center. Perhaps they could be lured to King Street instead. It would make sense in many respects. Daniel Island is still years away from full population, the distance to much of Mount Pleasant is the same, and the tourists are already Downtown and might not be easily persuaded to 'find' Daniel Island, when they are already DT to begin with.

Additionally, these type stores tend to congregate next to each other, and Saks 5th Ave. is already DT. Plus the Charleston Place shops are going even MORE upscale. DT would be more central to the entire region also than D.I. A Nordstrom or N.M. would make a tremendous 'anchor' for Upper King Street or a great additional anchor for Lower King.

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I wonder if the Midtown project or perhaps one of the other projects (Millenium) listed could be the site of a Department store. We know that high-end retailers like Nordstrom/Neiman Marcus are being looked at for the Daniel Island retail center. Perhaps they could be lured to King Street instead. It would make sense in many respects. Daniel Island is still years away from full population, the distance to much of Mount Pleasant is the same, and the tourists are already Downtown and might not be easily persuaded to 'find' Daniel Island, when they are already DT to begin with.

Additionally, these type stores tend to congregate next to each other, and Saks 5th Ave. is already DT. Plus the Charleston Place shops are going even MORE upscale. DT would be more central to the entire region also than D.I. A Nordstrom or N.M. would make a tremendous 'anchor' for Upper King Street or a great additional anchor for Lower King.

I think the projects on either side of Marion Square have retail on the ground floor.

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I wonder if the Midtown project or perhaps one of the other projects (Millenium) listed could be the site of a Department store. We know that high-end retailers like Nordstrom/Neiman Marcus are being looked at for the Daniel Island retail center. Perhaps they could be lured to King Street instead...Plus the Charleston Place shops are going even MORE upscale. DT would be more central to the entire region also than D.I. A Nordstrom or N.M. would make a tremendous 'anchor' for Upper King Street or a great additional anchor for Lower King.

All very good points, vic. It seems like Neiman Marcus would be the better acquisition for an upscale presence at Chas Place. IMO, it seems like Nordstrom has a tendency to place itself in mall markets, and the franchise is considered maybe one notch lower than NM in terms of how upscale it is. Also, placing both stores in such close proximity with Saks already anchoring lower King Street may not be the best idea.

The impact of all of these developments is very exciting to think about. I can't believe how my hometown is progressing in terms of urban renewal and growth. It sure does make me homesick!

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There continues to be a flurry of activity in the lodging industry in Charleston with new hotels being built and existing ones trading hands. One particular hotel, the Comfort Inn Riverview was recently sold. Speculation exists as to what will become of the building as its view of the Asheley has been almost completely blocked by the "towering" Bee Street Lofts condos. (The lack of Ashley River views seems to be a major issue with guests.) The hotel is rather squat and seems somewhat outdated. Perhaps the new owners will replace it with a taller structure to gain more value from the site which has certainly seen an increase in land value in recent years. In addition the hotel has been getting mixed reviews recently, due in part to the constant construction of the condos next door, lack of cleanliness, and the construction of the MUSC Power Building. This bears watching and could prove to be interesting. Incidentally some of the condos at Bee St. Lofts are going for more than a millon dollars for 2 bedrooms and 2.5 baths.

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^ It's good to see that hospital guests will be able to buy steady amounts of booze during their stay. ;) But it is even better to see that Meeting Street is continuing a revitalization of its own similar to King Street. The street still has alot more work that needs to be done, especially with the nearby Eastside neighborhood, and the projects that are a few blocks north.

Yeah, that Comfort Inn could use an exterior renovation. I'm diggin' the lofts.

I'm hoping they demolish that thing entirely and build something taller, nicer, and more modern!

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^ It's good to see that hospital guests will be able to buy steady amounts of booze during their stay. ;) But it is even better to see that Meeting Street is continuing a revitalization of its own similar to King Street. The street still has alot more work that needs to be done, especially with the nearby Eastside neighborhood, and the projects that are a few blocks north.

I'm hoping they demolish that thing entirely and build something taller, nicer, and more modern!

I'm happy that the hotel will have at least some retail activity with the Burris storefront. I agree with you Charleston Native, I drove past the Comfort Inn a few days ago ( unfortunately I didn't have my new camera yet) and the Comfort Inn has been completely overwhelmed by surrounding structures and lost whatever views it once had. I'm sure the new owners will take this into consideration.

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I had a chance to ride down Upper King Street yesterday and it looks very nice indeed. It is definitely much more pedestrian friendly and helps to bring the atmosphere of Lower King to Upper King. I was surprised to see that the work extended past the Crosstown and up towards the Philip Simmons shop.

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I had a chance to ride down Upper King Street yesterday and it looks very nice indeed. It is definitely much more pedestrian friendly and helps to bring the atmosphere of Lower King to Upper King. I was surprised to see that the work extended past the Crosstown and up towards the Philip Simmons shop.

There are a few more streescape project's in the making I hear.

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Thats good news. Meeting Street needs a lot of work, particulary between Calhoun and the Piggly Wiggly area, if I recall correctly.

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After more than 10 years of planning, C of C will break ground this fall on a new science building to house its chemistry and biology departments, according to the link below.

The city's BAR approved plans Wednesday for the 3-story, 125,000-square-foot building to be built at 205 Calhoun St. at the corner of Coming St. The property is currently a parking lot used by the college, which is building a new parking deck along with dormitories on George Street. The new science building will be built in a U-shape surrounding a landscaped courtyard and will contain a 150-seat auditorium, state-of-the-art laboratories and a 600-square-foot pollinator-free greenhouse designed for research. The new facility will cost about $50 million.

As much as I like new development for the college, I believe that this location is not the best for new science buildings. The parking lot should be a large parking garage, and maybe integrate the science buildings on top of it. This location is going to burden the intersection of Calhoun and Coming, especially with the library across the street.

New science facility approved for College of Charleston

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City looks at purchasing Mendal Rivers Building

This is what separates Charleston from so many cities. While this is only one parcel, in what is clearly already a prospering area, the city nevertheless goes to great lengths to see it developed in such a way that it will further the city's goals of pedestrian orientation, affordable housing, and appropriate scale.

This now dead-zone, eye-sore building, will no doubt be replaced with an incredible project worthy of an incredible neighborhood and city.

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The building's height alone makes it significant. Here's the most encouraging part of the article:

The city would aim to break even on the deal, he said, and could make sure some affordable housing and a new public parking garage are included in the plan.

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The $8 million restoration of City Hall are now complete. Charleston is an example of a City that puts pride in its city hall. They could have easily moved to a more accessible, more suburban location and not payed to fix the 200 year old building. I wish more cities would follows their lead. Anyway, this article from the Post & Courier gives the run down pretty well. Kudos to Charleston for completing the restoration, and making a more modern, yet historically appropriate city hall.

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The technology that has been infused into the old building is quite incredible. Laser-beam security for paintings, body-heat sensors for climate control, and preservation in such incredible detail. My only concern is the city's ability to expand city services in that building. I guess most expansion would occur in and around police HQ on Lockwood.

As for the Mendel Rivers building, it is good that the city is wanting to be proactive in redevelopment of this lot, but I'm afraid it it will be the typical, 4-story, uninspiring buildings that have been built around the area. Nothing high-profile or inspiring.

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Not all buildings need to be high profile and inspiring. You need some regular buildings in the mix to, so that the inspring ones will stand out ;)

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