The Beach Company has proposed a major development for the site of the Sergeant Jasper apartment building and an adjacent parcel. My strong opinion is that this application should be denied as it now stands.
Within the proposal there are positive elements. However, I believe there are two proposals that should be substantially altered before considering approval.
First, the building that is proposed for “St. Mary’s Field” west of Barre Street will forever block one of the most beautiful views in Charleston as one drives down Broad Street. The Ashley River, the marsh and boats will not be visible until one turns the corner onto Lockwood Boulevard. Instead one will see only an urban corridor along Broad Street.
I believe preservation of water views should be one of the highest priorities of the City of Charleston. The Beach Company should be required to have an additional 30 foot or more setback from the proposed setback so Charleston residents can continue to enjoy a portion of our current Ashley River view.
My second major objection is the proposal for a 35,000- square-foot grocery store in the complex. This would be similar in size to the Harris Teeter on East Bay Street.
At a recent Charlestowne Neighborhood Association meeting, Kent Johnson of the Beach Company said it was asking for a 20,000-square- foot grocery store but all the grocers wanted at least 30,000 square feet.
He did not say the Beach Company was applying for 35,000 square feet of retail space. This was disingenuous.
This store will increase traffic and congestion exponentially for neighbors as well as those who travel Broad Street. A solution is a 10,000-square- foot space dedicated to food establishments and related specialty shops.
This would result in a 25,000-square-foot decrease in retail space, which could be offset by additional apartments totaling 25,000 square feet to compensate the Beach Company for increasing the offset on St. Mary’s Field proposed above.
Benjamin Lenhardt Jr.