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Charleston native

Why Is West Ashley Ignored in the Metro Area?

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Okay, due to popular demand, this issue has surfaced many times, and it's about time the issue warranted a thread of its own. Why is it that in the Charleston metro area, the oldest and most economically diverse suburb within the city, West Ashley (WA), is ignored when it comes to infrastructure, shopping, amenities, and restaurants? For instance, WA is the only section in the metro area without a state-of-the-art movie theater, yet it has the largest shopping center known as Citadel Mall. Why is that?

Why did it take so long for a Best Buy to finally be built in this section of town, and why was it built smaller than most other Best Buy stores?!

Why is it that restaurants such as Olive Garden or Carrabba's don't consider WA as a logical place to expand, but yet the area has plenty of Applebee's and Ruby Tuesday's...even an Outback? :blink:

As far as infrastructure, why has it taking nearly 40 years for the last section of I-526 to get funded and built? Granted, the first section of the Mark Clark was built from WA to the north area, but it's been forgotten ever since the other side in Mt. P was completed. Will completion of this beltloop focus more attention WA and infuse more synergy here?

Mt. P, Summerville, and even the north city get more exposure and credit in this area. WA even has been given nicknames such as "West of the Nasty", "West Trashley", and "Ashtray", yet WA has the highest levels of income from upper sections of SC 61 to the riverside homes along the Stono, Ashley, and Folly Rivers. WA may be the oldest suburban section of the city, but there has to be reasons why this area is frowned upon in the Chas area. What are the reasons, and what can be done to change this perception? Toddbarwick, pompus, MikesLogic, and all the others...I want you guys to freely get this issue out on the table!

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I certainly don't think West Ashely gets ignored. There are ample restauarants, etc to serve the population. Maybe there are others you would like to see, but they have a plenty. And not just the chain restaurants, they have an abundance of local choices as well. As far as infrastructure, I think West Ahsley has the best system of interconnected roads in the area (outside of downtown). And areas like Byrne's Down, South Windermere and Avondale are among the most desireable areas in the metro, especially for young professionals. West Ashley is a large, diverse area, but I think it has its share of amenities, and it certainly isn't ignored.

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How about a decent, stadium-seating, multiplex in WA? That is truly non-existent on this side of town. WA residents have to drive 30-45 minutes for the nearest modern movie theater...the one in Citadel Mall needs extensive renovations. Why don't they build a new one at the mall? It certainly needs it.

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while I agree there may not be a "modern" theater in West Ashley, Mall Drive and teh IMAX are easily 15-20 minutes from most WA residents. Charleston is an interesting market in that alot of the retail/restaurants/entertainment areas have been pushed to North Charleston, which is centrally located and easily accessed from 26 and 126. it might be nice for each area to be "self-contained", but then what reason would you have to enjoy the rest of the city. Each area has its unique niche.

If any area suffers from image problems though, it is North Charleston. And this despite being the retail capital, not only of the the area, but of the entire state. So more amenities does not necessarily equate to better image or perceived prosperity.

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West Ashley is waaay past due for a full sized state of the art theater, the fact that Summerville has a new theater and West Ashley doesn't is pretty sad. North Charleston gets all the retail joints because of its central location to Goose Creek, Summerville, Hanahan, etc. Mount Pleasant is just big money they could get just about what ever they wanted I imagine, being that they are central to Downtown Charleston and Daniel Island.. I think West Ashley is overlooked in it's importance though, a connection to Johns and James Island and the continued growth of West Ashley should bring more prominent retail establishments within the next decade. The area really does have some of the best interconnectedness as far as main roads go.

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while I agree there may not be a "modern" theater in West Ashley, Mall Drive and teh IMAX are easily 15-20 minutes from most WA residents. Charleston is an interesting market in that alot of the retail/restaurants/entertainment areas have been pushed to North Charleston, which is centrally located and easily accessed from 26 and 126. it might be nice for each area to be "self-contained", but then what reason would you have to enjoy the rest of the city...

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I understand your point, but I will say, that each "self-contained" area should have its own flavor and amenity set. This give reason to go to other area of the city to enjoy those unique flavors. That type of interconnected dependence is what makes a city a city, not having four distinct but virtually indistinguishable nodes. So WA need not have a Carabbas if it Penachios, or Mama Fus, etc. Just my $0.02.

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You bring a very good point there: if WA has Penachio's, that should be enough without Carrabba's. I don't know though, both restaurants are soooooooo good!

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West Ashley has the full assortment of basic restaurants and chain stores, but for some reason it doesnt appear to go much beyond that.

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That's the point that toddbarwick, myself, and others have tried to get across here. The north area and Mt. P seem to get the majority of specialty department stores and restaurants as well as high quality bars and movie theaters. Why does WA get left out?

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I'm going to speculate and say that the Charleston metro has I-26 as its spine. Everything revolves around proximity to this highway including corporate descisions. North Charleston, Summerville and Goose Creek all benefit from being close to I-26. Mt. Pleasant as said above, is an obvious exception because of the money located there. West Ashley lacks proximity to this 'spine" Yes, both Mt. Pleasant and West Ashley both have I-526 but imo I-526 ends near the center of Mt. Pleasant while it ends near the edge of West Ashley further away from the centers of population and commerce. Once I-526 is completed I believe that West Ashley will become much more dynamic in being able to attract a greater variety of retail, restaurants and movie theaters. Even with the completion of I-526 imo West Ashley will remain a little out of the way and just a little harder to reach when compared to the central Charleston metro.

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I've noticed a large number of apartments going up in West Ashley at the Glen McConnell Parkway Expressway and I-526 behind the old Wal-Mart shopping center. It seems almost as if they put them up overnight. Does anyone have any information on them?

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...Once I-526 is completed I believe that West Ashley will become much more dynamic in being able to attract a greater variety of retail, restaurants and movie theaters. Even with the completion of I-526 imo West Ashley will remain a little out of the way and just a little harder to reach when compared to the central Charleston metro.

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At one time, the cinema at Citadel Mall was slated to be replaced with a modern stadium-seating multiplex. The cinema was originally owned by General Cinemas and they had plans to constuct a huge new cinema behind the current cinema. Unfortunately General Cinemas filed for bankruptcy before the plan came to fruition and was later acquired by AMC, the current owner. If you look at the Charleston County tax maps, you will see that the parcel for the planned cinema still exists behind the current cinema - and is still vacant. Maybe AMC will consider following through with General Cinema's original plans to construct a new theater at Citadel. It's definitely needed. The Citadel Mall cinema was built in 1981 and needs to be razed and replaced with a newer, more modern facility.

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At one time, the cinema at Citadel Mall was slated to be replaced with a modern stadium-seating multiplex. The cinema was originally owned by General Cinemas and they had plans to constuct a huge new cinema behind the current cinema. Unfortunately General Cinemas filed for bankruptcy before the plan came to fruition and was later acquired by AMC, the current owner. If you look at the Charleston County tax maps, you will see that the parcel for the planned cinema still exists behind the current cinema - and is still vacant. Maybe AMC will consider following through with General Cinema's original plans to construct a new theater at Citadel. It's definitely needed. The Citadel Mall cinema was built in 1981 and needs to be razed and replaced with a newer, more modern facility.

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At one time, the cinema at Citadel Mall was slated to be replaced with a modern stadium-seating multiplex. The cinema was originally owned by General Cinemas and they had plans to constuct a huge new cinema behind the current cinema. Unfortunately General Cinemas filed for bankruptcy before the plan came to fruition and was later acquired by AMC, the current owner. If you look at the Charleston County tax maps, you will see that the parcel for the planned cinema still exists behind the current cinema - and is still vacant. Maybe AMC will consider following through with General Cinema's original plans to construct a new theater at Citadel. It's definitely needed. The Citadel Mall cinema was built in 1981 and needs to be razed and replaced with a newer, more modern facility.

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