Details scant on mixed-use development project in West Ashley

A new mixed-use development is in the works for a 7-acre site on Wappoo Road in West Ashley, where the Dupont Produce Shed once stood.

But developers still are uncertain what the project near the corner of Savannah Highway and Wappoo Road will contain, said Chip Limehouse, a broker for Limehouse Properties who is coordinating the project.

West Ashley has drawn much attention in the past several months as city leaders begin to focus on revitalizing the aging, sometimes neglected area.

Limehouse, who also is a state lawmaker, said the property likely will have retail space. It also could have some rental housing. "It's a diamond in the rough at this point," he said. Jack and Andrea Limehouse of the Limehouse Produce Co. own the property.

The site for decades was home to the Dupont Produce Shed, but the structure was torn down in 2013. It sits in an unincorporated part of Charleston County in a "donut hole" surrounded by the city of Charleston.

The Seaboard Air Line railroad built the original vegetable shed around 1939 at the request of the Agricultural Society of South Carolina. At the time, truck farming was spread across what's now Charleston's West Ashley suburb. Even after the nearby railway was ripped up, Limehouse Produce continued to use the property as a distribution hub for trucks. The property eventually was abandoned when the business moved to its current Trade Street site in North Charleston about six years ago.

Charlie Smith, a real estate broker who lives near the site, said the property is important to the community, which wants a quality development built there, not just a strip mall.

Smith also said a small city park sits behind the property. If that land is folded into the development, residents will push for a voice in what gets built.

Tim Keane, the city's planning director, said the park isn't part of the plan.

City leaders talked with property owners before the shed was torn down about annexation, Keane said, but nothing came of the discussions.

The city tried convincing owners not to tear down the shed because of its historic value, he said. But they tore it down anyway because they said it was in poor condition and housing vagrants.

City leaders are keeping on eye on the development because it sits at an important corner of Charleston, Keane said. Not only is it adjacent to the park, but sits at the end of the West Ashley Bikeway, Keane said. "We'll take care to make sure only good things happen there."

Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491