Mt. Pleasant breaks ground on controversial Shem Creek project

VIDEO: Mt. Pleasant breaks ground on controversial Shem Creek project
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC

MT. PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - The controversial project in Mt. Pleasant that will build a two-story office building and parking garage had its official groundbreaking Thursday.

There have been a lot of mixed emotions about the project at 101 Coleman Boulevard on Shem Creek.

Some businesses and a shrimper said they're against the project, noting the beauty of that area is being destroyed.

For months Captain Wayne Magwood's Fresh Local Shrimp has sold in the lot off Coleman Boulevard.

As of a few days ago, they've had to relocate because of the future construction on that site.

"On the weekends kind of all the boats on Shem Creek come out here, and we all sell. It's definitely going to be different this weekend," said Christine Psaras, a shrimper with Captain Wayne Magwood's Fresh Local Shrimp.

Psaras said some of the restaurants in that area are working to get them space to sell on the weekends.

As for now, Magwood's has taken up shop parallel to the construction site.

"Very sad that Shem Creek is changing drastically," said Psaras.

Those thoughts were also echoed from workers at a nearby veterinary clinic.

They said the new modern building is will destroy the natural beauty of Shem Creek.

"Once they put up that office building... it's gone," Psaras added.

Meanwhile town officials are excited about this addition to the Coleman Boulevard revitalization plan.

"It's been a long time coming, parking is much needed and we need class A office space," said Mt. Pleasant Mayor Linda Page.

The two story building will house 42,000 square feet of office space, and hold 234 parking spots.

"It's going to enhance what is already a wonderful destination," said Tex Small, the project planner with Shem Creek Development Group. "It will enhance it because we're providing additional parking. As this community grows a lot of them are going to want to come here."

Small said the parking will be for the office employees during the day, and also provide parking for the nearby businesses on Shem Creek.

Those drivers will be charged a certain amount to park there, although a price is unknown at this time.

Small said the building will add to the future development in Mt. Pleasant along Coleman Boulevard.

"This is the vision," Mayor Page added. "To create a vibrant, walkable place. Offices that people can work in and walk to lunch, and walk to restaurants."

Town officials said this project has been in the works for more than two years, and has seen the town become divided over it.

The group "Save Shem Creek" and other locals have tried to stop this project in the past but haven't been successful yet.

"Money and power win... sadly," Psaras said.

"Save Shem Creek" has filed a lawsuit against the town of Mt. Pleasant.

In response to Thursday's groundbreaking, president of the group, Jimmy Bagwell, said, "Due to the ongoing legal action, we are unable to comment at this time."

Mayor Page added she understands the group's concerns and wants to try and work things out focusing on "unity".

Construction signs on the site expect the building to be completed by Spring 2016.

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