Razor wire halts access to rooftop

On the roof of the Concord & Cumberland condos, a coil of razor wire was installed to keep vandals from hopping from the garage to the roof.

Think of historic Charleston rooftops, and images of slate tiles, dormer windows and terra cotta chimney pots usually come to mind.

But razor wire?

The shiny, prickly coils normally associated with prison architecture, combat zones and hostile borders recently were deployed in the city's Old and Historic District, specifically on the roof of the new Concord & Cumberland condominiums that abut a city parking garage.

Not surprisingly, some find it aesthetically lacking.

Mike Goldson, an accountant who often parks in the Concord Garage, recoiled when he first saw it.

"I am still shocked," he said. "The tourists who park up there — and I see them every day — their impression when they try to see the harbor will be staring through razor wire."

If the tourists are unhappy, they can thank the hooligans who have climbed from the garage onto the condo's roof, where they have drunk beer, scrawled graffiti and annoyed residents, presumably while also savoring the views of Fort Sumter and the Ravenel Bridge.

Messages left this week with Estates Inc., the condo manager, were not returned.

The razor wire doesn't have the blessing of the city's Board of Architectural Review, but no blessing is needed because it can't be seen from the street, said Eddie Bello, Charleston's urban design and preservation architect. A more appealing metal picket fence has been built along a short rooftop section visible from Cumberland Street.

"If we don't have jurisdiction over it, then there's nothing I can do," Bello said, adding that he toured the condo roof to see the graffiti and empty beer cans.

"It was pretty clear they have a serious problem."