Office building eyed for 1970s-era bank at busy Charleston corner

A Charleston developer wants to replace the First Citizens branch at Meeting and Calhoun streets with this proposed office building.

A 1970s-era bank branch described this year as an architectural “embarrassment” could be replaced by a new office building at a busy intersection in downtown Charleston.

Marion Square Partners LLC has submitted a demolition and redevelopment request for 317 Meeting St. with the city. Its conceptual plan shows a four-story, 55-foot-tall building with a recessed rooftop structure that goes up another 25 feet.

The square footage was not specified, and no parking is shown.

The property owner is affiliated with Charleston-based Gramling Brothers Real Estate & Development. It bought the First Citizens branch at Meeting and Calhoun streets from the bank for $3.5 million earlier this year.

Representatives for the developer and the lender were not immediately available for comment.

The low-slung corner bank branch was built in 1977, according to Charleston County property records. The property is across Calhoun Street from Marion Square measures about a third of an acre, with much of that used for parking.

“The building is not of any historical or architectural significance. The site placement is suburban and creates a void at a very important corner of the city,” according to the plans submitted by Marion Square Partners.

To bolster its case, the developer also noted that the property caught the eye of Miami architect and urban planning expert Andres Duany, who was hired to assess how the city handles plans for new buildings in the historic district. Duany on March 9 called the existing structure at 317 Meeting “an embarrassment and that it should be removed and replaced immediately,” according to the company’s application.

The Board of Architectural Review is scheduled to take up the demolition request and review the conceptual plan Sept. 23.

Gramling Brothers is known locally for its development of the 4,500-acre Cane Bay in Berkeley County.

Contact John McDermott at 937-5572.