Charleston’s Horizon finalists named

After six companies submitted proposals for the $1 billion Horizon Project (rendering above), it’s now down to Greenville-based Hughes Development Corp. and Atlanta-based Gateway Development Services Inc. Buy this photo

And then there were two.

The search for a developer to transform the west side of the Charleston peninsula has been narrowed to a pair of finalists, the city announced Monday afternoon.

After six companies submitted proposals for the $1 billion Horizon Project in the fall and half presented their ideas last month, it’s now down to Greenville-based Hughes Development Corp. and Atlanta-based Gateway Development Services Inc.

The city did not specify how the Horizon Project Foundation, a collaboration between the city and the Medical University of South Carolina, made its latest cut or when the winner will be selected.

A spokeswoman for Gateway, which has led similar projects in Atlanta, declined to comment. A representative for Hughes, which helped remake the riverfront in Greenville, did not return a call Monday.

Christopher Wrenn said his Orlando-based Pizzutti development team received an email rejection of its proposal about a week and a half ago but hadn’t yet spoken to Horizon officials about why.

Losing bids is just part of the development business, he said.

“It was an exciting project, and I’m sure they’ll do well with it,” Wrenn said of Horizon.

Delayed for years by the recession, the Horizon project was revived in the summer with a request for proposals followed by a press conference at the top of a hotel in the middle of the target acreage. The district is bounded by Lockwood Drive, Hagood Avenue and Fishburne and Spring streets.

Largely surface lots now, project officials envision more than $1 billion in investment over the next couple of decades to create some 2 million square feet of apartments, offices and research space.

Similarly grand redevelopment attempts in other cities have brought controversy and limited success, but Mayor Joe Riley has said Horizon should be a “nationally significant” project.

The developer will play a pivotal role in making that happen.

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