If The Beach Co. gets permission to redevelop its Sergeant Jasper site, there won’t be an earth-shattering kaboom.
It would be cheaper to detonate the 1950-era, 14-story apartment building, bringing it to the ground in just seconds, but it’s simply too close to too many historic buildings. And the area’s soil could easily transmit such a big bang.
“We would be responsible for every crack in every historic building for 100 years,” said Kent Johnson, the company’s vice president of development.
Instead, the company will hire a demolition crew to chop up the building and drop its parts down the elevator shafts. Once the building is reduced to just a few stories, then cranes could be brought in to finish the job.
The building already has been cleared of its asbestos and lead paint, and Johnson said the company expects to have its Department of Health and Environmental Control demolition certificate within a month.
Video footage of tall buildings being imploded across the country have become a staple of many television news shows, but there hasn’t been such a demolition here. The Medical University of South Carolina took a similar chop-and-drop approach when it razed an old office building just south of Cannon Street about a year ago.
While The Beach Co. previously indicated the Sergeant Jasper would be demolished beginning late last year, the schedule remains on hold until the city decides on the company’s request to replace it with three shorter apartment buildings, plus parking and retail space.
“We need to know the rules,” Johnson said.