After reading last Sunday’s article in The Post and Courier on development activity on upper King and Meeting streets, my wife and I decided to take our dog for a walk in the area to see it firsthand. We love walking in different areas of the historic district and exploring our beautiful city.
This area is of particular interest to me because my first home purchase and renovation was in Mazyck Wraggsborough in 1977, and I was one of the early pioneers in the redevelopment of upper King Street.
“Wow,” is all I can say. The quality and scope of the redevelopment is truly amazing. There was construction and renovation under way on every single block from Calhoun Street to Spring Street. What was truly amazing was how alive and vibrant the area was. People were everywhere: on the sidewalks, in the restaurants and even in the shops that were open, and on a Sunday afternoon.
It was not that long ago, back in early 1989, when I first became involved in the assembly of some buildings on the corner of King and John streets. One would have been hard-pressed to find any pedestrian activity up there even on a weekday, and nothing would have been open on Sunday.
As we walked south towards Calhoun Street, I was struck by just how much better the east side of King Street looked without the hideous and derelict old Charleston County Library. You could actually look southeast and see the John C. Calhoun statue atop his pedestal, his coattails a-blowing in the breeze.
Soon, a new and more appropriate, classical style hotel building will rise from where this monstrosity once stood, and it will not only provide needed meeting and event space, jobs, and tax revenue for the citizens of Charleston, but also complement the other more traditional style buildings in the area.
The new hotel will be the southernmost anchor on upper King Street while the development of The Post and Courier’s 12 acres between Columbus and Line streets will eventually become the northern anchor adding to and complementing what is fast becoming one of the most successful retail streets in the entire country.
It is wonderful to see King Street being revitalized. You can see and feel the energy and excitement as you walk around and talk with property owners and restaurant and shop owners.
It is my hope that as new construction takes place, the powers-that-be will realize from their past mistakes that modern architecture becomes dated very quickly and will push for more traditional style buildings that will become a timeless part of the Charleston palette, which has made the city so wonderful.
Theodore D. Stoney Jr.
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