Jasper’s ‘Plan B-plus’ heads to mediation

File/Leroy Burnell/staff Aerial view of Colonial Lake and The Beach Co.’s Sergeant Jasper and St. Mary’s Field property.

The latest plan for Charleston’s Sergeant Jasper site is both familiar and different — and it will be hashed out Wednesday behind closed doors.

The plan calls for razing the existing 14-story apartment building and replacing it with a series of buildings off Broad Street between three and 11 stories.

They would include about 330,000 square feet of residential space — or up to 350 units — as well as 50,000 square feet of office space and 25,000 square feet of shops. The complex would include a 650-car parking garage, but the property west of Barre Street would become a public park.

Beach Co. CEO John Darby presented the plan Tuesday, which will be discussed in mediation Wednesday by the company, city officials, and representatives from four neighborhood and preservation groups.

The plan is similar to — but a bit larger than — a similar development concept known as “Plan B” that the same parties had worked toward in recent months. Mayor John Tecklenburg called it “Plan B-plus.”

Tecklenburg also voiced hope that this week’s mediation would succeed because if it fails then Circuit Judge J.C. Nicholson would rule in a pending lawsuit between The Beach Co. and the city’s Board of Architectural Review.

“I think we might all have to give a little bit from what we’d like to see,” Tecklenburg said. “If we don’t come to some agreement tomorrow, we all may be unhappy about some aspect of what his court order may be.”

The parties not only will debate the height, scale and nature of the development but also are expected to talk about the process by which it might be approved.

Winslow Hastie of the Historic Charleston Foundation said he wants to ensure the public still gets a say, particularly before the Board of Architectural Review.

“The process piece is a such a sticking point,” he said. “We’re worried about precedent.”

But the lawsuit began after the BAR voted in June to reject a proposed design that met the city’s zoning.

“It’s arbitrary. That’s no way to do business,” Darby said of the BAR.

“The (existing) building can’t come down until everything is resolved because it’s the collateral on the loan.”

Reach Robert Behre at 843-937-5771 or at twitter.com/RobertFBehre.