New apartment complex W. Ashley site to be geared for students, downtown workers

The site of an abandoned gym (center) and Turky’s Towing (left), at Folly and Albermarle roads in West Ashley, will give way to a 300-unit apartment complex and a one-acre city park.

Plans are under way to put a 300-unit apartment complex on the West Ashley side of the lower Ashley River bridges on a high-profile site occupied by a longtime towing business and a closed gym.

Part of the land also will be purchased by the city of Charleston for a one-acre park and green space.

Neil Robinson, an attorney for developer Flournoy Development Co., said rates at the future complex would be geared toward students at the Medical University of South Carolina, the College of Charleston and for food-and-beverage workers who can’t afford downtown’s more expensive rental prices.

The site is at the well-traveled intersection of Folly and Albemarle roads and houses Turky’s Towing. The land is under contract to be sold, Robinson said.

Charleston City Council this week approved rezoning the site from general business to mixed use. Council also agreed to buy the acre of future park land for $175,000, after the developer cleans the site up. A closing date would be in either 2014 or 2015.

Ryan Foster, a vice president with Flournoy Development, said the apartments would stand four stories tall. A formal artistic rendering has not been completed.

The apartments would become even more attractive to the peninsula if one lane of the U.S. Highway 17 bridge into Charleston is closed for pedestrians and cyclists to use, as the city is advocating, officials said.

The warehouse-size gym property has been vacant for some time. Turky’s has been at the site since 1993. Manager Allison Boone said the closing will be done within the year. She said Turky’s is not ready to announce its new location.

The Folly Road apartment project is the latest to spring up in the region. The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce said at its annual economic outlook conference this week that 2,600 rental units are under construction now in the region.

“We predict there are more to come,” said Mary Graham, who runs the chamber’s Center for Business Research.

John McDermott of The Post and Courier contributed to this report.