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Foundation Matters

Winslow’s Word: April 2023

Posted: April 6, 2023

Winslow Hastie, President & CEO

Last month we revealed the Make it Charleston website, a resource for information and updates on the planned Union Pier Terminal redevelopment. The public response has been overwhelmingly supportive with 3,480 emails being sent cumulatively to members of City Council. These emails show that residents are engaged and concerned about the future of Union Pier, and its negative impact on Charleston and its beloved neighborhoods. To that effect, we were pleased with a packed house at the first Planning Commission meeting for Union Pier, again proving that residents have legitimate concerns about the current direction of this massive project. This kind of active participation is vital to ensure that the identity and livability of Charleston remain issues of high importance, and that the Planning Commissioners, City Council and City Hall are aware of the collective concern. At the 2nd meeting of the Planning Commission meeting this afternoon at 5pm we are again counting on your voice to rally against unmitigated, inappropriate development.

Our collective push back is working; the Port has released a revised plan that addresses our request for more open space, but don’t let pretty pictures fool you. Their watercolor renderings (pictured below) are not reflected in the language of their zoning documents, and the language is what binds future development. With the intense development pressure that Charleston is experiencing, we have learned that zoning is everything. A wall of block-sized, 7-story buildings will be built if that is included in this plan. Let’s make sure that does not happen. Let’s Make it Charleston, truly!

April 5 rendering courtesy of

14 responses to “Winslow’s Word: April 2023”

  1. Hillary Hutchinson says:

    I am in favor of the park portion of this new plan.
    I am opposed to the big block building of 7 stories included in this plan. Set back does not alleviate the fears of the architecture overwhelming city’s feel of Old Europe. That’s already happened to much with the endless building of yet another luxury boutique hotels and some ugly big ones downtown.

  2. Kathryn cox says:

    No seven story buildings! Charleston is being destroyed!

  3. Timothy Bouch says:

    New plan is still a woefully inept attempt. Too many buildings. Too many large buildings. Too few streets and alleys. Too few green spaces. For a group that received the land for free, the Port Authority is extremely greedy. Strongly opposed to plan. Tim Bouch

  4. Jan Roosenburg says:

    Hi Winslow,

    I like the new carpet for the Aiken Rhett house. Regarding Union Pier, I would suggest that all parties involved take a very good look at Poundbury in the UK. It is not a suburb but part of Dorchester in Dorset. It is obviously bigger that Union Pier, but the office and factory part would not be needed in Charleston. It has shops and restaurants. It has 35% affordable housing intermingled with the other housing so nobody knows on the face of it which is which. The major mistake they made was the size of the garages, thinking cars would get smaller, instead we live in the era of SUV’s, which means a lot if cars are parked on the street. I think a study group travelling there and meet with the architects, etc. would be a good idea.

  5. Cheryn Small says:

    PLEASE keep building heights lower than higher!!! That has always been part of Charleston’s beautiful skyline and doesn’t make our city “like all the rest” it’s definitely part of Charleston’s charm and character.

  6. Kay Crnkovich says:

    Please add our names to those who are very concerned about the potential for overdevelopment at this historic and crucial tract on the waterfront in Charleston. This is the chance to get it “right” with buildings of character and significant open space that can be beautiful, but also necessary for flood mitigation.

  7. Patricia Moore says:

    San Francisco is a city of neighborhoods, a gem on the West Coast with many beautiful neighborhoods to visit and enjoy. People love to visit Paris because of its neighborhoods and beautiful residences. I think Charleston has the potential to be the same. Why not use this parcel to build a gorgeous walking neighborhood like the houses south of Broad? Ask classical architects to join your project from ICAA or CAHPT to design vernacular Charleston single family homes and bungalows for all price points. Use artisans and craftsman from your local schools to build dwellings with beautiful brickwork and wrought iron fences and gardens that will stand a century or two. Not many opportunities left to build something special and historic. I feel like this project would bring so much positive attention to Charleston around the world and make it an even greater travel destination. Charleston should savor this opportunity and get it right:)

  8. Carol Hawkes says:

    While not a resident of Charleston, SC, we visited your city and beaches since 1994. In 2021, not having been there for 2 years, I was amazed, and disappointed, at all the new construction of high rise buildings going on in the City. It’s lost a lot of its old world and historic charm and I commend and applaud the Foundation for its efforts with the City Council. Keep up the good work.

  9. Woody & Peggy Rash says:

    We fully agree that Council should be sure the language in the PUD document lives up to what the developer is showing in the renderings as the project moves along. Once executed, the PUD language will govern so it’s crucial to get it right rather than rush to push it through the various committees that have oversight. Let’s be sure what is ultimately decided is for the benefit of the citizens of Charleston today and in future not a State agency looking to capitalize on an asset acquired for free.

  10. Joe McGee says:

    Winslow and Cashion, thanks for the ongoing updates and pressure applied to the design. The boat tour a couple weeks back certainly “brought home” the horrible impact of the current design. We not only need successful outcome and influence on the Union Pier design process but must also remedy the “gaps” on land use for future PUDs. “Pause the Pud!”

  11. Pearl Ascue says:

    Thanks to the; Historic Charleston Foundation and the commitment of many others to save our beautiful city from over development in The Union Pier Area.
    For sure it’s our beautiful skyline from these elevated construction that’s being destroyed, as well.
    We’re experiencing the same problems in the Settlement Communities in the East Cooper Areas. Destruction of trees and other natural vegetation causes severe drainage issues.

  12. Carol A. Jackson says:

    Great to hear the volume of citizen participation, HCF. Keep it going! I especially appreciate the intentional collaboration among HCF, PS, CCL and CHS Moves. Separately your organizations’ contributions to Charleston future are impressive and worthy of support. Collectively ya’ll are a juggernaut. It’s like my favorite Roundabout signs in England, “Give Way”. Thank you on behalf of my 5 year old grandson.

  13. Marilyn Hardy says:

    Charleston needs to hold on to its charming character and never allow 7 story buildings to be constructed especially near the waterfront.

  14. Union Pier

    Regardless of the way the State Port Authority was offered the Union Pier property free of any reverter clause, the City of Charleston should regard “this once-in-a-century opportunity” as an opportunity for all citizens, a common opportunity, a common. The manner in which commons are treated is a political issue. A people’s issue.
    Since Gwylène Gallimard and I moved to Charleston, in 1984, to open a French Café on Broad street, we have observed how the city, since hurricane Hugo, has succumbed to gentrification and tourism. It is difficult to understand and accept the violence with which underserved local populations are uprooted and sent packing. Without any public transportations to bring them to their workplace, downtown.
    We are installation artists, who have shown their work throughout America, always to promote social equity and racial justice. In Charleston, among other works, at the City Gallery at Waterfront, in 2018, we presented conNECKted: Imaginings for Truth and Reconciliation. That show only confirmed our dedication to ethical causes.
    For the last 3 years, exactly since Martha Lou’s restaurant closed, shocked as I was to see yet an other Charleston landmark fall, l have been building -in my studio- a dream of an equitable Charleston! With partner, we call it “A TALE OF CHARLESTON”. Today, in view of the push by the Port Authority to hand the Union Pier to outsider developers, I am renaming it “A TALE FOR REPARATIONS”…
    You enter the Tale through the arches of the Bennett Rice Mill. They open on an entirely Green Urban Landscape where habitat is planned around an Education Center [History – Testimonials – Environment], an Urban Farm, a Hydroponics and Fish Farming Complex, combined with an ‘Elevated Common’ of small-scale eateries, Tiny Businesses and community gathering spaces [Performing Arts – Music – Visual Arts] – [stages – kiosks – forum] … As for habitat: equitable access to property or rentals, at prices which do not reflect the bloated Charleston market but is based on income!
    Sorry, I don’t really have any leverage on my dreams. If everything may not be for-real in a tale, we know that it always reflects the (un)conscious aspirations of the protagonists, their hopes, their visions. That is why, in my studio and in my dreams, I pay active attention to such fancies and transform them into physical reality. The proposal above is just an artist’s transparent screen, on which to apply one’s own differences.

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