Parking garage, rentals to kick off Horizon project

The long-planned redevelopment of a chunk of the Charleston peninsula’s west side is on the horizon.

The Horizon Project Foundation wants to build 207 apartments in two buildings above restaurant and retail space at Fishburne and Horizon streets, across from Riley Park.

The Horizon North project, as the first phase is being called, would include a 955-space parking deck behind the six- and seven-story housing structures.

“The parking deck is an important first piece of the Horizon project so we can free up some of the surface spaces for future development,” said Michael Maher, CEO of the nonprofit Horizon Foundation. “The apartments are a necessity to help finance the project as a live-learn-earn environment.”

Construction on the parking deck could begin as early as this spring if the plans win city approval, Maher said.

The former landfill site, part of a 20-acre area largely owned by the city of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina, is slated for redevelopment for some 2 million square feet of apartments, offices and research space over the next couple of decades. The mostly empty area, now mainly used as surface parking lots, is bound by Lockwood Drive, Hagood Avenue and Fishburne and Spring streets.

As part of the first phase, three restaurants would sit along the ground floor along Fishburne Street while four small retail shops would occupy the first floor along Horizon Street.

Amenities for apartment residents would include a 6,170-square-foot gym and a pool.

An existing structure for police vehicle maintenance behind the Charleston Police Department would be demolished to make way for the initial part of the Horizon project. The maintenance shed would be relocated near Milford Street in the Magnolia redevelopment project in the upper peninsula’s Neck Area, where other public works services for the city also will be based, according to Mayor Joe Riley.

The Horizon plans, which include slightly different renderings of the proposed buildings, are scheduled to go before Charleston’s architectural review board at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Riley on Tuesday called the plans “excellent” with “handsome structures” hiding the parking deck.

“This is the first step,” he said.

Maher, an architect and founding director of the Charleston Civic Design Center, said the first phase will pave the way for the next stage, which calls for developing the area near Spring Street and Lockwood Drive near MUSC.

The next phase calls for an office and research lab as well as a mixed-used building similar to the one proposed across from Riley Park.

“The whole redevelopment will provide an impetus for a live-learn-earn environment on the west side of the peninsula,” Maher said. “It’s an economic development project to provide new jobs and investment opportunities.”

Delayed for years, the estimated $1 billion Horizon deal was revived in 2012. The next year, Gateway Development Services of Atlanta was selected to oversee the redevelopment project. Gateway’s team includes Mount Pleasant-based retail developer WRS Inc. and multifamily-housing developer South City Partners of Atlanta.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.