Architectural board defers on retail, apartment, business plans
Charleston’s Board of Architectural Review deferred Monday on giving conceptual approval to a new building at the corner of Meeting and Columbus streets where the parent company of The Post and Courier wants to construct a mix of apartments, shopping and business sites.
While most of the board’s members gave the idea positive marks, some raised concerns that the project might be too tall, at least as far as the building’s sides facing Columbus and Line streets.
Others questioned the wisdom of issuing approval before the project had received rezoning in its height and usage needs.
The area is currently zoned general business and light industrial. The goal is to change the zoning to a combination of mixed-use and workforce housing.
Some also questioned how the building comes together in a merging of two distinct styles. For example, the “apartment” side of the building resembles a dark-bricked 19th century Charleston warehouse, while the “business” side that would front Meeting Street is in a more light-colored block stone.
Board member Jay White said the design made it appear that two differing eras were “slammed” together with force.
Evening Post Industries wants to redevelop 12 acres of land around the newspaper’s downtown building. This first phase covers only the open lot near the corner of Meeting and Columbus streets. The project has been dubbed “Courier Square.”
As envisioned, the building being considered would wrap around a hidden parking garage, with the facades going up toward a hidden setback. For example, on Meeting Street about four stories would be seen facing the front, with a fifth story penthouse level that would be set further back.
Part of the concept is to also incorporate the Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks that are outside the apartment structure, into a greenway.
Among the various changes BAR members suggested included seeing more about the way the building would be viewed from Interstate 26, since some have dubbed the site as the potential gateway building into the city.
The redevelopment area — one of Charleston’s largest — covers most of three city blocks between Meeting, Columbus, St. Philip and Line streets. It is owned by Evening Post Industries, parent company of The Post and Courier and other media properties.
In all, up to 2 million square feet of residential, retail and offices could be added to the area in the next 10 to 15 years.
Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.