HANAHAN -- The Boeing Co. plant was a big factor in a new mixed-use development that could include 1,100 apartments, condominiums and houses, as well as offices and stores, according to the developer.
The Wrenn Group is developing Bowen in Tanner Plantation, a 650-acre planned community off Henry Brown Boulevard. Hundreds of new houses have been built there in more than a half dozen neighborhoods since 2003.
Bowen is marked out on additional 85 acres between Tanner Ford Boulevard and the deepwater creek to the west.
The aircraft plant in North Charleston, which holds its ribbon-cutting ceremony today, is about 10 minutes away over Interstate 526. The plant will employ an estimated 3,800 workers to assemble 787 passnger jets, and hundreds of spinoff jobs are also expected.
Developer Ray Wrenn said Bowen was already on the drawing board when Boeing announced plans for a factory in North Charleston less than two years ago. But the October 2009 announcement gave him confidence to move into action and probably helped get financing from TD Bank, he said.
"They stepped up to the plate when a lot of other banks wouldn't," Wrenn said. "I think that's a message we need to get out there, to loosen up this economy a bit."
Wrenn's previous track record includes The Retreat Luxury Condominiums on James Island and The Battery at Park West in Mount Pleasant.
He graduated from Hanahan High School in 1976 and was backup quarterback on Clemson University's 1981 national championship football team.
Bowen's first phase is The Channel Apartment Homes at Bowen, which will include 136 units. Site work was under way this week.
Demand will determine the timing of the condos and houses, Wrenn said.
He said he plans high-quality houses under $250,000. They will be laid out close to streets with sidewalks, in the neotraditional style of I'On of Mount Pleasant, according to drawings on The Wrenn Group's website.
"I want it to be accessible to working people," he said. "There will be a strong sense of community."
Town officials say they look forward to the revenue from Bowen to help pay for a new fire station and fire truck at Tanner Plantation.
But Louis Russo, a real-estate agent who lives in Tanner Ford Plantation, says the new apartments will make it harder to sell existing houses, which are already hurt by the market slump.
"This is not a good thing," he said. "It will depress home prices even further."
Russo said he's also concerned about the extra traffic.
"I would rather pay higher taxes than have those apartment buildings there," he said.
Wrenn said he doesn't consider Bowen to be competing against existing homes, because he will offer a different product.
Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.