CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The plan to redevelopment the Union Pier in Downtown Charleston will be put on hold for the next year.
The South Carolina Ports Authority announced Friday the City of Charleston will take the lead on the project and come up with a new plan over the next year.
South Carolina Ports Authority CEO Barbara Melvin said during a press conference they will defer recommendations to the city’s Planning Commission to allow more time and community input on the project.
“People shared with us what they wanted to see at Union Pier, and more importantly, what they did not want to see at Union Pier,” Melvin said.
City officials will be joined by third party consultants, advocacy groups, the College of Charleston’s Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Center for Livable Communities, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation in the effort.
“Today is, in a way, a day of celebration because we kind of breath a little sigh of relief that we are going to have a pause, a reset, so we can get this right,” said Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg.
SC Ports owns the 70-acre site and planned to redevelop it into a mixed-use neighborhood with housing, retail, hotels, and green space.
The Ports Authority presented their proposal earlier this year, and held numerous public meetings. The community expressed concern about the height and density of the project, the environmental impact, and how quickly it was unfolding.
Melvin said neighbors also made it clear they want to see the project address resiliency, traffic, and affordable housing needs. There was also a call for more green space.
“We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and do what we have been asking for, for a while, which is to have a city-led and community-engaged planning process for this really important piece of our city,” Cashion Drolet said. She serves as the Chief Advocacy Officer for the Historic Charleston Foundation.
Melvin said the core components of the project will remain the same – including creating a mixed-use neighborhood and expanding waterfront access.
“This is really a major step forward, not only in sending a message to the community that we can be effective in our advocacy, but it’s a note to all the other real estate developers that want to capitalize on what we built in this city. It’s beautiful,” said the Preservation Society of Charleston’s President & CEO, Brian Turner.
The mayor and advocacy groups planned to meet after the press conference to discuss the timeline moving forward.