Developer moves ahead with 8 story-hotel plans near Marion Square

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – The State Supreme Court has reversed a ruling that would block a large hotel development adjacent to Marion Square, and now developers are moving ahead to ensure it becomes reality.

The hotel will be large enough for 185 rooms, include full services and amenities for guests, and a rooftop pool eight stories high.

"I've been working on this project for ten years and we finally got our approval from the Supreme Court. We're very and excited and we'll be building the hotel we've been planning on," developer Michael Bennett said.

Bennett owns the old Charleston County Public Library site, but he hasn't been able to develop the property because local preservation groups sued him over his hotel development plans.

The Historic Charleston Foundation says "The 3x height designation for the entire project site permitting a maximum height of 105 feet, threatens the historic character of this important public space."

While some people in the community may think that eight stories high is too tall for this area, project planners say that's still shorter than a church steeple and a hotel right across the street.

Now that the State Supreme Court has given the hotel development plans the go ahead, Bennett says when built the hotel will fit right in with the area.

"It's beautiful architecture, classic architecture, when we build this it will look like it's been here for a long time," Bennett said.

Locals say they're ready to see something built in place of the unused building.

"It will be nice to get rid of this eyesore across the street. I think Mike Bennett's plan is a good plan," resident Larry Tarleton said.

The HCF is working with attorneys to figure out their next course of action.

Mayor Joe Riley and the City of Charleston supported the developer Michael Bennett as he went to court to fight for the hotel.

The hotel is estimated to cost more than $70 million to build. The developer says the timeline for construction is pending one last approval by the city's Board of Architectural Review.

No word on a name for the hotel at this time.

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