Citadel Mall owner envisions technology center

Citadel Mall owner envisions technology center
September 12 11:37 2019 Print This Article

Trademark Properties principal owner Richard Davis envisions Citadel Mall as a future job center in the fields of medical research and technology. Davis made a presentation to the West Ashley Revitalization Commission (WARC) Wednesday to share his vision for the property his company acquired in early 2017. He views the future EPIC Center to be a place where people can work, live, play and be entertained. More than 100 people gathered at the mall’s Cultural Arts Center theater to view the presentation and make comments.

Trademark Properties is requesting that Charleston City Council increase zoning density at the property from General Business to Planned Unit Development. The initial plan presented calls for the construction of five new buildings, ranging from nine stories in height along Orleans Road to 25 stories along I-526. Each building would include a parking deck, creating more than 4000 parking spaces. The plan calls for 1.4 million square feet of office space, 600,000 square feet of retail, 275,000 square feet of medical facilities, 200,000 square feet for an indoor sports facility, 500 hotel rooms, and more than 1000 condominium and apartment units. Belk, Target, and Dillard’s would retain their existing retail spaces.

Davis says that he plans to improve drainage in the region. The WARC subsequently received a briefing on the Dupont Wappoo drainage study, centered by Citadel Mall, which calls for $3.5 million in drainage improvements. The EPIC Center plan calls for 20% of the property to be preserved as open space, much of it “green” infrastructure. He also stated a desire to attract iconic retail outlets, such as Apple and Tesla.

During the extensive public comment period, two Mayoral candidates addressed the WARC. Maurice Washington advised that Charleston should evaluate the cost of delivering residential services before annexing properties from St. Andrews Public Service District. He also said that some property tax revenue generated from the EPIC Center should be set aside for the construction of “workforce” housing units so that more teachers, police officers and firefighters can afford to live in West Ashley. Sheri Irwin criticized the urbanization of West Ashley and suggested that the city’s $3 million purchase of the former Northbridge Piggly Wiggly property in 2017 would have been better spent on drainage projects

Charleston City Council candidate Brett Barry objected to the height of the EPIC Center buildings. He said high-rise buildings would ruin the unique character of West Ashley and suggested a limit of no more than five to seven stories. Other respondents commented on drainage and affordability issues. Some were concerned that increased property values would tax them out of their homes. Mayor John Tecklenburg noted that the state property tax law prohibits an increase of more than 15% over a five-year period.

Charleston City Council will consider the Trademark Properties zoning change request at its Tuesday, September 24 meeting.