If you're drawn to the suburbs of the Lowcountry, West Ashley might be a good fit for you if you have children but don't exactly have the budget to live in the increasingly expensive town of Mount Pleasant. It is Charleston's largest and oldest suburb, home to about 60,000-plus residents. Here are five reasons to consider living there.
1. It's cheaper than most other places in the center of the region. While rents and home prices are skyrocketing in places like downtown Charleston and Mount Pleasant, West Ashley's prices are still pretty reasonable, especially in the areas around Interstate 526. Homes sold in West Ashley in 2017 had a median price of about $284,000, nearly $200,000 less than the typical prices in lower Mount Pleasant and the upper peninsula, according to the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors.
2. The area is revitalizing, making it a wise investment for homeowners. Planning experts and local officials are planning ways to update its commercial areas and better connect its various neighborhoods in a multi-jurisdictional West Ashley Revitalization initiative. Early evidence of its success are on Savannah Highway, where new car dealerships have helped bring its retail sector back to life. Plus, the region's second Whole Foods store is opening at the intersection with Farmfield Drive by the fall of 2018.
3. You’ll find pretty much find everything you need in the shops of West Ashley. Citadel Mall offers the standard big-box fare along with a Stadium 16 IMAX theater, while charming shops and specialty stores can be found in South Windermere and the Avondale area.
4. One of West Ashley's best assets is its scenic views of the Ashley River, marshes and creeks. Grand old oaks still grace S.C. Highway 61, making the drive in and out of town a little more scenic than your average commute. The area’s major plantations are located along this historic corridor, offering events throughout the year to explore the area's arts while also soaking up their history.
5. It's a good place to live if you have kids, primarily because of its many outdoor amenities. You can take the family out on bike rides on the West Ashley Greenway or the West Ashley Bikeway, which are designated only for bikes and pedestrians. West Ashley Park off the Glenn McConnell Parkway, St. Andrews Park off Ashley River Road, Mary Utsey Park off Orange Grove Road and the Bees Landing Recreation Center off Bees Ferry Road all have athletic fields and play areas.