Past Forward: Mount Pleasant’s one-time main drag tapping into area’s heritage while spiffing up looks, development mix

  • Posted: Saturday, November 23, 2013 12:01 a.m., Updated: Sunday, November 24, 2013 2:35 p.m.
A john boat motors along on Shem Creek, which can be seen from evolving Coleman Boulevard (Photo by Laura Olsen/Olsen Imagery).


Mount Pleasant’s birthplace, the road that took motorists to Florida and New England, the Cooper River Bridge Run starting point: They share something.

All the spots either include or connect to Coleman Boulevard.

For such a prominent avenue, Coleman occasionally falls out of favor as a business and residential post. Once part of U.S. Highway 17, the boulevard’s been overshadowed periodically by five- and six- lane Johnnie Dodds Boulevard and its new overpass. It also gets less attention at times than other newly expanding roadways and communities.

But at least from the planning – and in a few cases, growth – side, Coleman Boulevard has moved back in the spotlight. The Boulevard apartment homes emerged this year as an upscale four story enclave just north of Moultrie Middle School. New retailers such as Southern Seasons opened stores. And town officials have kicked around the idea of a pedestrian walkway or roundabout.

All the while, the largely commercial roadway that crosses Shem Creek dutifully ties into notable neighborhoods such as Bay View Acres, Cooper Estates, the Groves, Shemwood and the Old Village – where the town began.

“That’s one of my spots,” says Mary Ziegler, Realtor with Better Homes & Gardens/The Beach Co.

She lists four homes priced from $350,000 to $989,000 in the village historic section or the more generic Old Mount Pleasant. “The price point is all over the board,” she says.

Ziegler points to four benefits that highlight the tree-lined section. “I think livability, walk-ibility, the schools and the water,” she says. For instance, the town park at the foot of the former Pitt Street Bridge creates a recreational area for “shrimping and crabbing,” she says. Quiet streets encourage new homeowners to “meet your neighbor.”

Even with its character and history, the older section of town can be affordable. “I just sold a condo for, gosh, $200,000 in Old Mount Pleasant,” she says.

The Realtor received her real estate license in 1989, the same year Hurricane Hugo put the Old Village underwater and drove the former police station headquarters to higher ground.

“I’ve seen a lot happen in 20-plus years in this market,” she says.

As of late, the Old Mount Pleasant real estate scene “has slowed down a little bit. Lots of people are looking (but) not a lot of people buying,” Ziegler says. Shoppers may be taking a breath after a summer sales run to close on homes in time for the new school year.

“The economy is coming back, lenders are freeing up money,” she says.

The Old Village’s sociability draws in buyers, says Danielle Hartley, Realtor with Avocet Properties and listing agent for 211 Bennett St. priced at $1,685,000 (For more, check www.211bennettstreet.com).

“It’s still a place (where neighbors help) if you need to go next door for sugar or flour, or (someone) to watch the kids (when) going to the grocery store,” she says.

Built in 1987, the Bennett Street house boasts “a traditional Charleston feel which is very attractive,” Hartley says. The three-story, 5,000-square-foot residence includes six bedrooms, six baths and a swimming pool set among century-old live oaks. “It’s an amazing space, meticulously maintained.”

Hartley says the Old Village will reap benefits from a more vibrant central business district. So Coleman Boulevard’s redevelopment, she says, “only opens more windows.”

To reach the Coleman Boulevard corridor from downtown Charleston, take the Septima P. Clark Crosstown and bear right onto the Ravenel bridge. Cross the bridge to Mount Pleasant. Stay in the two right hand lanes, which exit onto Coleman. Neighborhoods are on the right and left from Patriots Boulevard to Rifle Range Road. Just after the Shem Creek Bridge, steer right onto Whilden Street-Royall Avenue or at various other right turns to enter the Old Village. Coleman Boulevard continues east, splitting off from Chuck Dawley Boulevard before becoming Ben Sawyer Boulevard on the way to Sullivan’s Island.

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.



COLEMAN BOULEVARD CORRIDOR AT A GLANCE:

Location: Mount Pleasant

Number of homes: 1,000 plus

Square footage: 806-5,689

Look & feel: A direct route through Mount Pleasant traditional business district, Coleman Boulevard also serves as a feeder for a host of neighborhoods including the Old Village and Bayview. It also guides motorists to Patriots Point Naval and maritime center, to Shem Creek’s collection of restaurants and nightclubs and to Ben Sawyer Boulevard’s beach access. Earlier this year, The Boulevard apartment homes opened on Coleman. The rental village provides an urban feel, with buildings set close to sidewalks.

Homes on market: 49

List prices: $209,000-$6,750,000

Schools: Mount Pleasant Academy, Moultrie Middle, Wando High schools

Fun facts: Coleman Boulevard was named for early Mount Pleasant Mayor Francis F. Coleman; Long-time residents still call U.S. Highway 17 “the bypass” because of Coleman Boulevard’s original position as the highway route through town.

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