Stalled Long Savannah development revived

The massive Long Savannah development that stalled during the Great Recession likely will be underway again soon.

The 1,253-acre mixed-use development in West Ashley will include up to 4,600 homes, and will define the western edge of Charleston. Before the recession, it was the largest planned development in Charleston County.

Taylor Bush, president of the Long Savannah Land Co., said he has a contract to purchase the property from the Campbell family, who currently owns the land. And he expects to make a presentation to the city of Charleston's Planning Commission in September or October on modifications to the property's development agreement.

If everything goes well, and he can obtain the necessary environmental permits, work on the development could begin as early as 2016, he said. "We're motivated to move as quickly as permitting will allow."

Bush also owns the nearby, 310-acre Grand Bees property, adjacent to the east side of the Bees Ferry Landfill, which he plans to develop. And he developed Tanner Plantation in Hanahan in the early 2000s.

Tim Keane, the city's planning director, said Long Savannah moving forward is a good sign for the local economy. "It's an indicator the real estate market has turned around," he said.

Bush said one of the modifications he is seeking would remove minimum housing density requirements. The original development agreement for the property created a high density development, he said.

But he would like some flexibility to create some lower-density areas inside the development, he said.

He also said Long Savannah has public components.

As part of the agreement for the development, his company will cover the cost of extending the Glenn McConnell Parkway from where it now ends at Bees Ferry Road to the entrance to the development, he said.

And the development will be partially surrounded by 1,568 acres of county parkland and 232 acres of city parkland.

The city and the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission purchased that property in 2009 as part of an effort to create a "green edge" at the city's western limits. The county PRC spent another $4 million to acquire the adjoining Bulow Hunt Club.

"The development of Long Savannah is going to open up (access to) those parks," Bush said. "So there's a concerted effort for them and us to move this along quickly."

Reach Diane Knich at 843-937-5491 or on Twitter at @dianeknich.