BAR defers vote on Sgt. Jasper plans

Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Downtown Charleston residents are upset following the Board of Architectural Review's decision to postpone plans on the 14-story Sergeant Jasper building near Colonial Lake.

A majority of the people who attended Wednesday's BAR meeting commented on the height of the new building.

Right now the plans are to build an 18-story tower to go along with two other buildings.

A comparison between the two buildings shows the current Jasper building, standing at 150 feet tall, compared to The Beach Company's proposed structure at 216 feet tall.

Many who live in the area say the current building is already an eyesore, and the plans for the new one would ruin the Charleston skyline.

"Charleston is not Boston, it's not Washington, it's not New York, and that kind of density belongs there or in our own midtown," Luke Daniels, President of the Harleston Place Association, said.

People were visibly upset leaving Burke High School Wednesday after the BAR's decision to delay the vote on the Jasper building plans.

Many say the project is just too big to accommodate the space off Broad Street near Colonial Lake. Some go as far as to say the first proposal was a slightly better one.

"It's more in keeping with the neighborhood," Winslow Hastie, Chief Preservation Officer of the Historic Charleston Foundation, said. "To have more residential, no offices, and keep retail scaled to the neighborhood."

The plan looks to have several office and retail spaces in addition to the residential tower.

Many neighborhood associations feel that sort of look doesn't fit in to the area.

"Not in the neighborhoods of houses that are 35 maybe 55 feet high," Daniels said. "That many apartments and that many businesses in that vicinity just doesn't work."

During the public comment portion of the meeting, many voiced their opposition to the plans.

From the turnout Wednesday night along with letter to the BAR, at least five people showed their support for the project.

Those against the plan also added the height of the residential tower alter the skyline of Charleston in a negative way. However, city officials feel it would be a benefit.

"It will be something of beauty that adds to the skyline," Tim Keane, Planning, Preservation & Sustainability for the city, said. "So we think the design approach is right, and we think the architect is really skilled and they're proposing a really beautiful building."

A press release from The Beach Company following the meeting read, in part, "I'm confident in the capabilities of our design team and the plan we've created to improve the Sergeant Jasper site," John Darby, CEO for The Beach Company, stated. "The Jasper will feature high-quality Charleston architecture and will be a positive addition to this special part of the peninsula."

The architects will likely present another plan in the next month or two altering some of their design based off the comments from the public, city staff, and board members.

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