The influx of new apartment developments to Charleston's mid-peninsula shows few signs of letting up.
A city committee will review preliminary plans Thursday for 350 multifamily units on two separately owned tracts straddling an old railroad on Line Street.
One 2.7-acre site encompasses the historic building and antebellum smokestack where AAA Downtown Storage sits at 44 Line St.
Plans presented to the city call for 250 apartments and 400,000 square feet of new construction on the site bounded roughly by Meeting and Line streets, the Interstate 26 off-ramp and the old rail line. Several old structures at the corner of Line and Meeting are not included.
A separately owned, 1.4-acre tract sits at 52 Line. It includes a long block building on the east side of the railroad that's part of the storage business and a large vacant lot on the other side next to Barsa restaurant.
Plans call for 100 multifamily units and 380,000 square feet of new construction on the two parcels owned by Norfolk Southern Railroad. The two parcels on both sides of the train tracks are under contract by Lowcountry Low Line, a nonprofit working to buy the unused Norfolk Southern rail line that runs along the spine of the Charleston peninsula.
The side-by-side apartment proposals are being presented to the city at the same time and both involve parts of the storage business, but they are not joint projects.
"The two ... submissions are independent, but the owner of the AAA site and the contract holder of the Low Line site have been collaborating together and with input from the city for a thoughtful and holistic plan that creates and embraces public parks and spaces," said Justin Ferira, CEO of The Seine Group, a real estate investment firm and partner in the development of the 44 Line St. tract.
A Norfolk Southern spokeswoman said it was the company's policy not to discuss real estate issues.
Others involved in the proposed developments did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In addition to multifamily use, plans call for retail space along Meeting and Line and parking where Meeting and the interstate off-ramp connect.
The preliminary plans do not specify the number of stories for the proposed apartment projects, but a city planner said it is not unusual for new proposals to lack details this early in the process. Higher structures are allowed on the mid-peninsula than the lower peninsula.
Owners of both tracts have applied for the properties to be rezoned as planned unit developments. It's also not unusual for plans to change or be tweaked as projects move through different levels of city review.
Last summer, an Ohio-based developer and a Charleston real estate investment firm paid nearly $8.7 million for 12 parcels on and around the storage business at 44 Line.
At the time, the developers announced no specific plans for the site except a mix of uses under an environmental cleanup agreement filed with the state.
Lifestyle Communities, a developer and property manager based in Columbus, Ohio, and The Seine Group, through an Atlanta-based arm called East Line Partners LLC, bought the 294-unit storage business as well as parcels around it.
The purchase also included four small parcels on the south side of Line near the rail line. Plans call for residential and mixed uses on the site.
Seine is a partner in the 10-story, Skygarden Apartments under development about three blocks south of the site. Last week, it joined South City Partners of Atlanta to buy the 400 Meeting St. Apartments, about two blocks south of Skygarden, for $22.2 million.
The central building of the storage warehouse business dates back to 1857 and includes an antebellum smokestack. The historic structures are protected under the city's preservation rules.
Historical records show the site east of the rail line, developed in the mid-1800s, included an assortment of shops for blacksmiths, woodworking, machines, paint and offices. A plywood warehouse and large oil-storage room also were located on the tract during the 1900s.
Because of the former uses of the property, environmental testing of the soil and groundwater were required. The water tests came back clean while the soil samples showed some contamination above acceptable federal levels for lead, arsenic and other substances.
East Line Partners agreed to assess and manage any cleanup of the site.