Developer eyes Laurel Island for upscale development

VIDEO: Developer eyes Laurel Island for upscale development

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - North American Properties revealed its plans to transform 160 acres of waterfront Property on Laurel Island, near Romney St. and Morrison Dr., into "Lorelei," an upscale, mixed-use community.

The property is part of Charleston's Upper Peninsula.

"A true hidden treasure, Lorelei represents not only one of the most exciting developments in Charleston's history, but also the last premier waterfront parcel on the beloved and coveted Peninsula," said Mark Toro, managing partner of NAP, in a press release. "With the community's guidance, Lorelei will become a sophisticated, vibrant mecca of best-in-class living where entrepreneurs, families, neighbors, friends, artists and the greater community can come together to discover new experiences and enjoy life in Charleston."

The Lorelei plan includes mixing retail with restaurants, a hotel, meeting space as well as boat access, single family homes and apartments as well as biking and hiking trails.

According to a press release, the development will also include a locally curated food hall, inspired by the nation's best market halls, including Grand Central Terminal.

The food hall will be designed and curated in collaboration with local restaurateur Steve Palmer.

According to the developer, the site was formerly a plantation, powder magazine and railroad terminal. CC&T Real Estate's website also indicates the site
is "a former landfill that received a certificate of completion from South Carolina DHEC in 2005." The property borders Charleston County's Romney St. recycling plant.

Grow Food Carolina borders the planned development on Laurel Island; the group has been part of early brainstorming along with parent company Coastal Conservation League.

"One of the companies...brought the Coastal Conservation League into the fold from the beginning to make sure that we'd be supportive of the type of development they'd be putting out on the island," Sara Clow of Grow Food Carolina said. "We hope to have a fair amount of green space and for the public to use the waterfront available."

The plan adds to increasing development along Morrison Drive, commonly called "NOMO," including apartments, restaurants and tech companies.

"One of the things that attracted us to this area of the peninsula was that we didn't have to deal with the hustle and bustle of downtown," Kevin Eichelberger, Founder and CEO of Blue Acorn, said. "When we first looked at this space…it was a rundown warehouse. Even in the last three years this area has been redeveloped reinvented, and we've seen a lot of growth and progress."

According to the Lorelei release, the development team hopes to attract new stores and restaurants that want more space than available on King Street.

"When retailers discover Charleston, they hear they need to be on King Street," said Robert Clement, local partner and president of Charleston-based Clement, Crawford and Thornhill, Inc. "But, it's not possible for retailers that require bigger footprints to find suitable space, and adequate parking, on these streets. Lorelei will serve as a relief valve, attracting new retailers and chef-driven restaurants to both Charleston and the waterfront community."

North American Properties said they'll be hosting neighborhood meetings and a "discovery tour" to get community ideas for the project.

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