Plans to demolish Sergeant Jasper apartments a long way off says owner

Plans to demolish Sergeant Jasper apartments long way off says owner

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Sergeant Jasper high-rise has towered over Charleston since 1949.

"The life of the building is towards the end of it," says Tim Keane, the director of the City of Charleston's planning commission. "So, you either do a major renovation or you tear it down and build something new, and the owner's feeling is, and the city's feeling is that it would be better to build something new here."

The owner is The Beach Company, and it's looking to the city to re-zone the land adjacent to the building. Keane says the land is slated for commercial use such as retail shops and offices. Re-zoning it to residential would allow The Beach Company to build new apartments on the land.

"We like residential here," explains Keane. "We think more residential is a good thing. We prefer retail and office in the central business district closer in on Broad Street, on King and Meeting Streets."

In the place of the 14-story high-rise would be several four and six-story buildings, which The Beach Company says would be more in scale with the rest of the city.

The Beach Company says the plan is in the very early stages. Even if city council approves the re-zoning, The Beach Company says they want to hold several community meetings. They say construction is a long way off.

"We think earliest case may be sometime in the latter part of 2015," says Kent Johnson, the vice president of development and acquisitions at The Beach Company. "More than likely it will be even later than that."

Johnson says ideally they would move their tenants into the new buildings before demolishing the old one.

"We will certainly give them the first shot at relocating into the new buildings as we bring them online."

The planning commission will vote on the proposal May 15th. The proposal will be presented to city council sometime in June.

If the city council approves the plan to re-zone,The Beach Company will then take its design in front of the Board of Architectural Review since the land is part of the historic district.