Living east of the Cooper has changed dramatically within the last decade. Mount Pleasant, a thriving community of Charleston, is minutes away from downtown and the barrier islands of Isle of Palms (IOP) and Sullivan’s Island. One of the most recognizable landmarks of Charleston, the Arthur Ravenel Bridge, links residents to downtown and I-26 takes commuters out to North Charleston, Summerville and other areas. The beaches are an easy drive via the IOP Connector on the north side and Ben Sawyer Boulevard on the south side.
As of 2019, Mount Pleasant was ranked as the fourth largest city in South Carolina with a population of 92,867. It is one of the fastest growing cities in the state, doubling its population between 1990 and 2000. The community is comprised of approximately 45 total square miles and it has seven elementary schools, four middle schools, two high schools and a Trident Tech satellite campus for higher education.
According to the Town of Mount Pleasant’s (TOMP) 2017 Demographics Report, the ratio of detached single-family dwellings was 64.37 percent, with multi-family apartments, condos and townhomes making up the rest of the housing needs for residents.
Neighborhoods and the future of building
There is a multiple of choices when it comes to neighborhoods; so many in fact that the TOMP council members voted to limit development in 2019. The Post and Courier reported in November 2018 that “just 600 new dwellings would be permitted each year starting in 2019, with half the permits available at the start of the year and half July 1.”
Despite that, several new communities are in the building process and older, established Mount Pleasant neighborhoods have an undeniable appeal to many buyers. Snee Farms, established in the 1970s on 200 acres of a historic plantation site, is close to Highway 17 and all the businesses and shopping that has and is springing up along the Highway 17 corridor. Large lots, lush oaks and an 18-hour golf course is the norm here for single-family dwellings. Prices range from $150,000 for a townhome to much larger homes overlooking the golf course or lagoons for $800,000.
Seaside Farms, a popular neighborhood on Rifle Range near the IOP connector, has realized tremendous growth, adding new apartments and boutique shopping. Single-family homes, townhomes and a senior living community are part of the lifestyle here. Other neighborhoods line the length of Rifle Range – Sweet Grass, the new Shell Landing neighborhood, Scott’s Creek, Hamlin Plantation, Oyster Point and others – older neighborhoods and newer ones create a cohesive mixture of Lowcountry past and present.
South Mount Pleasant’s beautiful Old Village was established in the 1800s and its picturesque, quaint charm is reminiscent of a bygone era. In the Old Village proper, home prices range from $500K to over $5 million. Their main street has been featured in movies and television and Alhambra and Pitt Street Parks are public parks with phenomenal views of the Charleston Harbor.
“It’s a matter of preference,” said Stacy Jennings of Smith Spencer Real Estate. “Young couples who want new construction may gravitate toward north Mount Pleasant. Others who move here from an area prefer that area as well since it typically that area offers large lots.”
Jennings commented that some of her buyers aren’t fazed by the traffic that can be congested during peak drive times in north Mount Pleasant. Some of her clients don’t mind less lot space and gravitate toward south of the IOP connector where homes are typically more expensive – in terms of lot size, new construction and square footage — and new builds aren’t as plentiful.
Both areas continue to draw buyers from the area and transplants that move here.
“In the past six months, there have been 985 closed sales in Mount Pleasant,” Jennings said. “Those numbers are comprised of 434 properties south of the IOP connector and 551 in north Mount Pleasant. Prices for the two areas are comparable with the range being $123K for a condo to $2.995 million for a single family home for inner Mount Pleasant. In the north area, those numbers are $119K for a condo to $2.15 million for a single family home.”
Where are those million dollar homes? South of the IOP connector, it was in Olde Park off Mathias Ferry and in the north, Wando Farms, a luxury, gated community on the Wando River 14 miles from the Ravenel Bridge.
Carolina Park, a new and popular north Mount Pleasant neighborhood, is a master-planned community off of Highway 17.
”Residents here run the gamut – from move-up buyers to grandparents to empty-nesters and families – and there are several choices in Carolina Park,” said Brian Keels, Chief Operating Officer of Carolina Park. “The homes and lifestyle here cater to every stage of life.”
Keels stated prices range from the mid $400K to over $1 million. The townhomes at Carolina Park were snapped up early, as many buyers desired the low maintenance of a townhome with the vast amenities Carolina Park offers. The range of Lowcountry inspired home styles is vast, from cottage-style, one level homes to custom-built large homes in the Riverside section of the community.
“There are eight different builders involved with the construction of Carolina Park homes,” Keels said. “One of the big draws of Carolina Park is the educational facilities. There is a pre-school, Carolina Park Elementary and Ocean Side High School. Wando High School and the Wando Center for Advanced Studies are nearby, and in the spring, the new library is scheduled to open.”
Merrill Gardens, a senior community, houses independent living, assisted living and memory care apartments. The Roper St. Francis Mount Pleasant Hospital is minutes away from the neighborhood, as is the brand new Costco. There’s also a fire and police department within the community.
Keels stated that there are plans to add new shops for residents and that Bolden Lake, a 20 acre pond in the heart of the Riverside community, has a boardwalk and several nature trails that run alongside it. Custom homes overlook the lake, giving residents the ultimate in serene nature and water views.
Coleman Boulevard’s ongoing infrastructure improvement continues in order to improve water drainage and water quality. According to the TOMP’s website, plans are in the works to improve traffic flow by constructing raised landscaped medians and adaptive traffic signals. In addition, much-needed bike and pedestrian paths will be added. Completion is expected to be in late 2019.
The Shem Creek Revitalization Project is its Phase III development and part of Coleman Boulevard’s improvements. According to TOMP, this phase will have an “independent pedestrian bridge” that connect with the Coleman Boulevard sidewalk and existing boardwalk. The park that’s near iconic Mount Pleasant restaurants, Red’s Ice House and R.B.’s Seafood, “enhances sense of place, increases connectivity, and prioritizes the pedestrian environment.”
The TOMP is also planning a Phase I and Phase II of Rifle Range Road Park with plans presently being to build a 34,000 square foot recreation building with gym, walking track and recreation rooms for youth and adult programs. The start date is slated for July 2021 and Phase II, which continues the development with “multi-purpose fields,” athletic fields, fishing docks and other family-friendly amenities is still in the planning stages.
The Lowes Home Improvement store in Mount Pleasant Towne Centre is one of the busiest locations in the U.S. To meet the growing demand, a second location was opened in 2018, about five miles further north on U.S. Highway 17.
The Post and Courier recently reported that the new Home Depot was opening this month, just a few miles south of Lowes. Matt Harrigan, the company spokesperson stated that Mount Pleasant “is one of the fastest growing areas of South Carolina,” and that it was the “perfect spot.”
An upscale shopping plaza near Towne Centre, Indigo Square, on Highway 17 is in the construction phases. A 51,000 square foot retail project, GreenWise Market (division of Publix) will be here, along with other tenants such as a yoga and Pilates studio, and restaurants. Chris Widmayer, Vice President of Regency Centers, a national developer of grocery-anchored shopping centers was quoted on Business Wire as saying that GreenWise Market and the project “... is the perfect foundation for a project that will feature excellent local and national tenants catering to the same discerning customer.” That customer being the residents in an area that is bursting with shopping, tourism and activity, and one that has the “strongest demographics in the Charleston area.”
Lowes Foods on Highway 41 is also opening soon and with it, more tenants in The Market at Mill Creek shopping plaza to support the burgeoning communities – Rivertowne, Park West and Dunes West — on this stretch of one of Mount Pleasant’s busiest thoroughfares. Home prices in these neighborhoods can range from the $200Ks to well over $3 million.
A place to call home
Though Mount Pleasant has grown exponentially over the last decade, there are still pockets of that peaceful-easy-feeling kind of ambiance in its startlingly beautiful marsh sunsets, pristine parks and yes, even its brand new developments. It is indeed a place many choose to call hom