Proposed hotels could contribute $1M to affordable housing in downtown Charleston

The city of Charleston is working to balance new development with the need for affordable housing.
Published: Jun. 14, 2023 at 10:55 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 15, 2023 at 4:18 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The city of Charleston is working to balance new development with the need for affordable housing.

City leaders reviewed plans for two new hotels on the peninsula that officials say, if approved, could contribute over $1 million to increase affordable housing in the city.

This all comes from an ordinance the city adopted in late 2019 that requires hotels to donate a certain amount of money depending on the size of the hotel.

“It’s absolutely critical that we have the hotels where we can invite those that are visit our beautiful city in, it’s equally if not more important to have housing for those that live her every day, make our city’s run, make our city the city that it is, that people are so attracted to,” Geona Shaw Johnson, the Director of Housing and Community Development for the City of Charleston, said.

To break the ordinance down, developers are required to donate $5.10 per square-foot of sleeping space at each hotel to balance the negative impacts hotels can have on affordable housing.

“Any level of funding that we can garner or secure toward the development of affordable housing, we want to grab hold of that,” Shaw said.

The ordinance is designed to provide housing for service workers who are employed downtown, specifically at new hotels that are being built.

“So that folks don’t have to drive from Summerville, Ladson, Goose Creek, just to get to work,” Robert Summerfield, the Director of Planning, Preservation and Sustainability for the City of Charleston, said.

When it comes to the proposals reviewed Wednesday, the first hotel planned for Meeting Street is set to be 8 stories.

Developers still need to make a few changes before approval, but once built, officials said they’d be required to donate around $700,000 toward affordable housing in the city.

The next proposal, which is also in the early stages of the approval process, would transform one of MUSC’s old buildings on Hagood Avenue into a 10-story hotel.