by John Steinberger | July 10, 2019 9:22 pm
Charleston city planners laid out preliminary plans for re-developing the former Northbridge Piggly Wiggly lot Wednesday at the West Ashley Revitalization Commission meeting. Most of the 150 seats at the West Ashley Theater Center at Ashley Landing shopping center were filled. The theme presented calls for a public-private partnership on the 2.5-acre site with a government building at the point of the triangular lot and a parking garage/office complex along the Sumar Street end.
Project advisor Amy Barrett from the Urban Land Institute supported the idea of a multi-story parking garage on the property. She said, “West Ashley is plagued by a lot of surface parking to the detriment of public space.” Many West Ashley business owners believe that abundant free parking is convenient for their customers. City Councilman Marvin Wagner asked the city planners, “Is the garage going to be one story or will it be 10 stories?” Planning director Jacob Lindsey said that public input will determine the scale of the project.
During the public comment period, more than a dozen people lined up to speak. The overwhelming sentiment was that people wanted to maintain the suburban character of the established West Ashley neighborhoods. People in Northbridge Terrace recently went door-to-door to oppose a transportation plan to restrict left-turns into the neighborhood and nearby shopping centers, resulting in 86% opposition to the plan designs. There was also opposition to the concept of a public-private partnership for the project, with the city government retaining ownership of the property.
Charleston is sending out proposals to development firms to submit plans for re-developing the property. The city has also sent out requests to marketing firms to provide branding themes for West Ashley, which has nearly 75,000 residents. If West Ashley was a municipality, it would be the fourth or fifth largest in South Carolina. It includes Charles Towne Landing, where the first British settlers arrived in 1670.
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