Sunrise (copy)

The sun rises behind the landmark pineapple fountain at Waterfront Park, which the city and the owner of two neighboring parcels plan to expand. File/Matthew Fortner/Staff

An expansion of Waterfront Park would include a new pier, a walkway and more places for the public to sit and take in the views of Charleston Harbor, according to plans the city and developer Lowe Enterprises have submitted.

The proposed park expansion would run along waterfront property adjacent to a 225-room hotel Lowe plans to build at 176 Concord St., property it purchased this year from the State Ports Authority.

The Los Angeles-based developer has said it wants to work with the city to extend the existing 12-acre park, which was completed in May 1990.

Its proposal would extend the park north to the boundary of the Fleet Landing restaurant site, according to plans filed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"Lowe is assisting in the fulfillment of the original vision for this park and then turning over operations and maintenance to the city after completion," Lowe spokeswoman Hannah Nuccio said.

SPA Headquarter Sale (copy)

Lowe Enterprises and the city are proposing to expand a popular downtown park to include the waterfront land behind the State Ports Authority offices (left) on Concord Street. The Fleet Landing property is to the right. File/Brad Nettles/Staff.

Lowe did not provide a cost estimate for the park's development. The company wants to have its hotel open by 2020, and Josh Martin, an adviser to Mayor John Tecklenburg, said the park's development would follow that timeline.

The city and developer need a permit from the Army Corps because they want to place about 8,000 cubic yards of fill material into wetlands to build a pier with a floating dock. The pier would be 15 feet wide and about 400 feet long and would feature a covered area closest to the water. It would anchor the north end of the park just as an existing pier marks its southern edge.

A floating dock where a water taxi will operate and boats can dock during the daytime would connect to the new pier.

The most recent permit application builds on plans Lowe and Charleston officials first announced in April, when the City Council voted to approve an agreement formalizing the company's decision to incorporate the extension into its hotel plans and then turn the park over to the city.

Martin said the park expansion will provide "public access to the most valuable pieces of land on the peninsula, which are our waterfront edges."

He said the extension matches details of a master plan that was produced when the city first considered building the park in 1980.

"This kind of completes the original vision of the park," Martin said.

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Lowe also has been working with local environmental and neighborhood groups to get their input about the park and hotel development.

Waterfront Park — with its iconic pineapple water fountain — consistently ranks among the city's most popular attractions in visitor surveys. Designed by Stuart Dawson of Sasaki Associates, the project won a 2007 Landmark Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 

Lowe this year bought two Concord Street parcels totaling 6.5 acres for $38 million from the SPA, which is moving its headquarters from the property to its Wando Welch Terminal in Mount Pleasant. In addition to the headquarters site, Lowe's purchase includes property where the Fleet Landing restaurant will continue to operate until its lease expires in 2024.

The SPA is leasing the site from Lowe while its new office space is being built. The maritime agency recently filed for permits to build a $40 million headquarters that will nearly double its size.

Lowe's development plans include indoor and outdoor dining options, a full-service spa and a rooftop lounge and observation deck. Architect renderings also show a pool, fitness center, ballroom, meeting rooms and ground-floor retail space. The developer plans to create 230 new jobs at the hotel site.

Redevelopment of the property will be a windfall for local and state governments, which stand to gain $6.3 million in new revenue from property, accommodations, sales and other taxes as well as business license and other fees. The SPA, a state agency, is exempt from paying such taxes and fees on its property.

The property will be managed by Two Roads Hospitality, a subsidiary of Lowe. Locally, Two Roads also manages Wild Dunes Resort, which Lowe has owned for years on the Isle of Palms.

Reach David Wren at 843-937-5550 or on Twitter at @David_Wren_