Alicia Olejar planned to live in the Sergeant Jasper apartments until next May, when she graduated from the College of Charleston.
But like the rest of the residents on her floor in the 14-story building on Colonial Lake, she's moving out at the end of the week.
Olejar was among about 300 residents - mostly a mix of students, professionals and some elderly - in the 64-year-old building who received notices in February terminating their leases. "It snuck up on me," she said Monday as she headed to her apartment to begin packing.
Karen Bacot, director of marketing for the Beach Co., said residents in the building's 220 apartments were required to move out between mid-May and mid-August, with residents on the upper floors required to leave first. But a lot of residents chose to move out before the deadline, she said. Only about 25 percent of residents remain in the building, she said. "It's a ahead of schedule. Everything is going great."
The Beach Co. has said it envisions a re-do of the site with a mix of housing, apartments, commercial and retail space and a parking garage that will cover areas where Broad Street, Barre Street and Lockwood Boulevard are anchored. Construction height would range between four and seven stories.
Bacot said after the last residents move out, the company will do some work inside the building, preparing to take it down.
Company representatives have said an elevator shaft will be transformed into a trash-disposal chute, with materials dropped down by workers as debris is removed floor by floor. No explosives or building-implosion techniques would be needed.
Olejar said she hasn't yet found a place to live. She's going to stay with friends for a while. Then she and her boyfriend are going to look for a house on James Island or in West Ashley.
Now, she walks to her job at the College of Charleston, "It was really convenient," she said. "I'll definitely be a commuter, and I'll have to pay for parking. It's definitely a big change."
Bacot said the company is working with residents who are having a hard time finding a place to live.
And the company plans to donate anything salvageable from the building, including appliances and fixtures, she said. "Anything that may be repurposed will be donated, from appliances to hinges."
It also will donate items left behind by residents, including canned food, furniture and books.
A date hasn't been set for demolition, Bacot said. And she can't yet release any information on future development for the site. "We're not going to say what it is until we have a plan and it's approved."
Reach Diane Knich at 843-937-5491 or on Twitter at @dianeknich.