A major development coming to the upper King Street area has received its final OK from a city review board, moving the block-long building closer to construction.
At nine stories tall, renderings of the project — which will be filled by offices, parking and two ground floor retail spaces — show a structure that will be visible from King Street, over and between the buildings lining the block.
The lot, which touches Mary and Reid streets, was occupied for more than a century by the Hughes Lumber and Building Supplies store. After 128 years in business downtown, Hughes Lumber closed in late 2016. The owners had already been working with developers for a few years on plans to position the site for a mixed-use building.
The first iteration of the project received conceptual approval from Charleston's Board of Architectural Review during the summer of 2016. When plans were approved then, the building went up to seven stories.
The district allows for eight floors, but developers later asked to add an additional floor, based on its architectural merit. Now, with nine total levels, the tiered building design shows a maximum height of around 130 feet.
A small building that was in the planned development area was deemed to be historic, so developers decided to move the structure to another spot on the lot.
Plans for the first level show three lobby areas, a fitness center, two retail spaces and parking. The majority of the second, third and fourth levels are parking areas, with some office space. For floors five through nine, the entire level is dedicated to offices.
At one point, there were plans to include a few dozen apartments in the development. The current focus on office, parking and retail has been in place since the beginning of last year.
At the Board of Architectural review meeting last Wednesday, a representative for McMillan Pazdan Smith Architects' Charleston division, which is designing the building, described the "refinements" made to the plans during its reviews with the board and city staff.
Several elements, such as sconces and metal gates used for detailing on the lower levels, will be custom-made, according to plans.
Representatives from the Preservation Society and the Historic Charleston Foundation both weighed in with concerns, including the Preservation Society's opposition to allowing the additional floor.
The board granted final approval unanimously, but with conditions. Developers will need to work with city staff on some design details before they can proceed.
Other major construction projects are planned within the same block. Facing King Street, the former Morris Sokol furniture store sits directly in front of the planned office building. Plans to turn the storefront into a mixed-use building with hotel, residential and retail uses were announced earlier this year.
The lot directly behind it is slated to become a 300-room hotel alongside new apartments. An existing apartment complex was demolished there in 2017. The hotel development was just granted an extension by a zoning appeals board last month, meaning construction work would not have to start until the beginning of 2021.