Beach Company releases new plans for Sgt. Jasper

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Next week the Beach Company will present its latest plans for the empty high-rise near Colonial Lake in Downtown Charleston. Sergeant Jasper has been at a standstill for nearly five years now. It has been a controversial downtown proposal since 2013.

The Beach Company altered its designs to gain community approval. They are confident the project will finally move forward.

John Darby, president of the Beach Company, said, after years of back and forth, he wants a clean slate for everyone.

"There were some disagreements at the BAR level with the preservation groups, neighborhood groups. There was a lot of misinformation that was out there and we got off track," Darby said. "It became very difficult to get the consensus for what plan to move forward."

Beach Company vice president Dan Doyle explained compromises helped move the project forward.

"Our original plan had a taller building on this location," Doyle said. "We committed and changed our design so that the building isn't taller than the Jasper complex that exists on the site today."

"It'd be better if it was a little bit shorter but as long as it's not taller, I think that's a good compromise," downtown resident Rachael Herman said. Herman said she can see the building from her home.

Residents that live nearby call the current Jasper complex their eyesore next door.

"The vacant building, at this point, has not been very pleasant to look at," nearby resident Pat Kuhlenkamp said. "I think anything that they're going to do now to develop it is positive."

"It's kind of ugly. It's an eyesore in the area," Herman added.

Beach Company management said they are planning on constructing a mixed-use building. It will include housing, shops, business space, and restaurants at their prime downtown location.

"[The Jasper Complex has] tremendous views of the Charleston harbor, Ravenel Bridge, the Ashley River, all of downtown Charleston," Doyle said.

"It's been vacant probably longer than it should have been," Kuhlenkamp said.

The project got conceptual approval last April. If the Board of Architectural Review (BAR) gives preliminary approval next week, they will still need one final approval before construction can begin.

"We're just excited to get started. It's been a long process," Darby said. He hopes they can break ground this fall.

The Sergeant Jasper proposal will go to the BAR next Wednesday, February 8th. The meeting is open to the public. It is at 4:30 p.m. at the Gaillard Center at 2 George Street, 1st Floor, Public Meeting Room (Room #1403).

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