Eight-story building proposed for downtown Charleston

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The skyline of Downtown Charleston is ever changing.

An eight-story building is being proposed to take over where Hughes Lumber used to be on Mary Street in Downtown Charleston, between King Street and Meeting Street.

On Wednesday night, the Board of Architectural Review approved the height, scale and mass of this new building owned by the Cobalt Property Group.

A request for a ninth floor was deferred.

"Currently we have kind of a 'conditional' approval," said Patrick Marr, a principal with Cobalt Property Group. "We have to go back on the ninth floor and they need to see our materials and they wanted to see some design changes."

Marr said this building is going to have more of an art deco theme.

"It's going to be a little bit different than the brick – more textile type of industrial buildings that have been characterized in Charleston," Marr said.

Folks in the Cannonborough-Elliotborough neighborhood, however, feel the style of the building does not belong in the area.

"It is totally inappropriate for Charleston," said Jo Cannon, the owner of Beads on Cannon. "People say we should have changed, but this looks like Charlotte or Greenville or Miami even… But it does not look like it belongs in the middle of downtown, historic Charleston."

The project at 82 Mary Street would be about 100,000 to 130,000 square feet of office space.

There would also be retail and parking spaces available.

"I just feel that there needs to be alternative uses rather than just hospitality and multi-family," Marr said.

"I don't care if they want to have the cook and bottle washer all on one site," Cannon added. "I just think it's too large and too modern for that spot."

Marr, however, said he believes the BAR is looking for different kinds of designs for that area.

"I think the BAR is making development and design more interesting for Charleston," Marr said.

He also believes the BAR is trying to set a precedent, specifically regarding the two-acre site that fronts Meeting Street.

"That is owned by Mike Bennett of Bennett Hospitality and they have proposed a 300 room hotel and 200 units of residential and a parking garage," Marr said. "It's twice as big as what we are. And I think the BAR is trying to set a tone that 'this is what we're doing for a mid-block. When you come for King and Meeting there is going to be a higher threshold you have to meet.'"

Marr said they are going to go back and change some of the architectural design to some of the sides of the building and will present that.

Marr said they are hoping to have the ninth floor approved as well.

"We hope to have the actual detailing done by the end of the year," Marr added. "We expect to start construction in 2019 – with delivery late 2020, early 2021."

As for businesses coming to the building, Marr said they are in talks with several but nothing is set in stone yet.

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