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Foundation Matters

State Ports Authority Poised to Redevelop Union Pier

Posted: January 10, 2023

Trustee and Staff tour of Union Pier with SPA and LOWE, fall 2022.

The redevelopment of Union Pier Terminal presents a critically important opportunity for Charleston on the last 70 acres of undeveloped waterfront on the peninsula. It is the largest proposed development project in the history of downtown. Historic Charleston Foundation supports the redevelopment of Union Pier as a vibrant new peninsula neighborhood that can be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. Consequently, we have been engaged with the State Ports Authority (SPA) and the LOWE development team to advocate for a project that is reflective of the design principles of our world-renowned historic city in scope, scale, and implementation. Robust community engagement from residents like you is also critically important in determining the future of Union Pier Terminal.

Draft, Image presented Oct 2022.

Last fall, SPA and LOWE hosted three public engagements events to seek ideas and feedback from the community to inform the plan and presented a concept plan in late October, along with a follow-up presentation to the city Planning Commission in December. While the information shared to date does not yet represent a formal “Master Plan” proposal, HCF has provided feedback on the concept plan in the hope that it will meaningfully impact their development proposal. At this time, we expect the development team to begin the application process with the city in the coming weeks and then to pursue a Planned Unit Development (PUD) through the Planning Commission in the spring. PUDs are real estate developments that are not subject to the standard zoning requirements, but instead work with the local government on a unique zoning plan to allow for flexibility in the development that will result in improved design, character, and quality. HCF believes that a PUD is the appropriate approach for the redevelopment of Union Pier Terminal and is the means to produce a development that is “of Charleston.”

Below are some key concepts the Union Pier PUD should include:

We look forward to continued work with the SPA, LOWE, and the Charleston community to ensure that this unprecedented redevelopment project provides the community and city with visionary urban planning that is representative of the quality urban fabric of Charleston’s historic district.

Cashion Drolet, Chief Advocacy Officer

Read more from the Foundation’s Advocacy Team on Union Pier: 

July 2022: Litigation Updates, 295 Calhoun + Union Pier

Sept 2022: The Future of Union Pier

Dec 2022: Special Planning Commission Meeting on the Future of Union Pier

3 responses to “State Ports Authority Poised to Redevelop Union Pier”

  1. Clark J. Shaughnessy, Architect AIA Emeritus says:

    So that I may intelligently comment, is there a way that I can receive a much larger map of the Program Zones, together with the meanings of the listings of the keyed letters, numbers and color-codes on the map?
    I am willing to pre-pay for your costs of reproduction of the map(s) and paperwork, and mailing costs.
    I am very interested in quickly commenting, as urban renewal has been of great interest to me throughout my architectural career.
    Thank you for your reply,

  2. Dorothy Jones Rumenik says:

    My ancestry from my mother’s side is from Charleston, and often as a child we would go there to Sullivan’s Island to enjoy everything Charleston has to offer. However, would hope that the residents of Charleston and any of those who are part of this project would know more about this project than I do. I am sure they will respond much better than I can, and, hopefully, I and my family will have a chance to one more time make a visit to Charleston on the top of our list.

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