BAR defers new plans for Sergeant Jasper site

VIDEO: BAR defers new plans for Sergeant Jasper site
Source: The Beach Company
Source: The Beach Company

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Board of Architectural Review unanimously voted Wednesday evening to defer making a decision on the newest proposed plan for the Sergeant Jasper site.

The 14-story building at Colonial Lake in downtown Charleston has been empty for more than a year.

The Beach Company presented "Plan A" to the BAR, with a proposal to build around Sergeant Jasper, and renovate the current Sergeant Jasper building. 
The surrounding development would include a six-story building to be used for retail and office space, a two-story building for retail space, parking garage and more.

The board deferred the plans, to study them more, and gave several recommendations.
Those recommendations include: lowering the height of the six-story building, ensuring preservation of the live oak on the property, looking at the parking garage idea and more.

The Beach Company immediately sent a statement, following the board's decision:

"For several years, The Beach Company has worked closely with stakeholders and the city's planning department to create various plans that meet all zoning requirements for the site, but has been met with delays and obstacles time and time again. Today's decision only further stalls the process, which adds additional costs to the project and sends a loud message to investors that their property rights are not safe in Charleston..."

While a decision wasn't reached for changing the Sergeant Jasper site, many, on both sides of the issue, agreed something needs to change.

"I think everybody is tired," Harleston Village resident Luke Daniels said. "The BAR is tired. The neighborhoods are tired."

Daniels stressed that frustration does not mean the people in the Historic District will give up.

"We're going to fight to get something that's done right for the neighborhood," Daniels said.

While people on the other side of the issue, like Beach Company CEO John Darby, don't have the same vision for this site, they share the similar concern that nothing is happening.

"We're very frustrated," Darby said.

In B.A.R. meeting, Darby began his presentation, highlighting four previous plans that have been all denied. After the deferral decision was made, he was wishing he could turn back time.

"If we had a do-over, we would have just renovated the building," said Darby. "We would have never moved those good folks out of the building. I was disappointed it happened that way. It's just been a horrible experience."

Others felt the Board's decision was warranted and "Plan A" is not appropriate for the site.

"Primarily the height scale and mass was inappropriate," Executive Director of the Preservation Society Christopher King said. "You have aspects of Colonial Williamsburg and Chicago in Charleston in the existing Jasper. So, it needs significant refinement."

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