An engraving of Charleston Harbor, circa 1760.
After the Union Pier redevelopment plan by California-based Lowe group was met with public outcry last fall, SC Ports ended that agreement at a cost of $9.9 million and pivoted to a community-led planning process managed by the Joseph P. Riley Jr. Center for Livable Communities at the College of Charleston. In November, the center with its local stakeholders committee selected design firm Sasaki, which created Waterfront Park, to reimagine the nearly 70-acre site as a mixed-use development more in keeping with the Charleston Historic District.
SC Ports retains ownership of the cruise terminal, and, as their lease agreement with Carnival ends this year, will move towards “abbreviated port-of-call stays” instead.
A history of Laurel Island as presented in the planned unit development (PUD) proposal, from its service as an armory (1820s) to a dredge spoils site (1940s and ’50s) and landfill (1960s to ’90s).
Plans for Laurel Island approved in 2020 include a mix of residential, retail, hospitality, and office space, as well as public parks, an outdoor concert venue, and access to the harbor.
With the contamination remediation of this large Ashley River tract complete, Houston-based Highland Resources plans to begin development of its city center and waterfront park, with other phases following through approximately 2040.
A bird’s-eye view of the former Charleston Navy Base, a shipbuilding and repair facility, which closed in 1996.
Ships prepare for war at the Charleston Naval Shipyard in this photo dated July 24, 1941.
Twelve historical buildings on the site, including the circa-1909 brick Powerhouse building and the mid-century modern Navy hospital, will be renovated and repurposed through the phased master plan. First up: two of the Storehouse Row warehouses are being made into apartments, set to open in May.
In addition to shops, restaurants, and public gathering areas, like the envisioned courtyard,
The plan includes 2,400-plus residential units, including apartments and live-work spaces.
Although no specific plans are set for Battery Park, last year the Urban Land Institute selected the site for its annual Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition. There were four finalists, including the “Port Unity” proposal (top) by a team of Harvard students, generating a wealth of ideas for development.
The pedestrian bridge, which connects the area to Riverfront Park, was completed in November 2022.
A proposed site plan and street view (top) for the “Port Unity” concept