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148-unit luxury apartments to break ground in January in downtown Charleston

The Society at Laurens apartments

The Society at Laurens will include 148 luxury apartment units in two buildings between Society and George streets, with Laurens Street dividing the development. Provided/Southern Land Co.

A new luxury apartment development is about to break ground in downtown Charleston.

Tennessee-based Southern Land Co. will officially turn the soil Jan. 16 on The Society at Laurens, where 148 upscale rental units in a pair of five-story buildings across two blocks near Gadsdenboro Park.

The project is the Nashville developer's first undertaking in the Charleston market. It will be constructed between Society and George streets —  the site of the former Vegetable Bin and other small businesses — with Laurens Street as the dividing line.

Southern Land paid about $5.3 million last year for the two parcels, which total nearly 2 acres, according to Charleston County property records. 

The property is just north of the Harris Teeter supermarket off East Bay Street. That puts it within walking distance of the Gaillard Center, and not far from the future International African American Museum being built on the waterfront off Concord Street.

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"This development has been in the works for quite some time and has involved a lot of negotiations with the neighborhood and city," the company said on its website. "In those negotiations, SLC agreed to give up height, mass, scale and density in order to build a smaller, more boutique residential project."

It added: "These will be very high-end apartments that are as close to condos as an apartment can get."

The Ansonborough neighborhood development will cater to empty-nesters and those looking for a downtown getaway without maintenance or a mortgage, according to Gina Stouffer of Lou Hammond Group, a marketing firm representing Southern Land.

She also said the company has a reputation of becoming involved in the communities where it builds.

For instance, Southern Land developed Denver’s 17th and Pearl project, which was hailed as a preservation success after the company worked with local groups to save a 117-year-old building.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524. Follow him on Twitter @warrenlancewise.

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