With the Great Recession waning, tech companies moving into Charleston, and the Holy City earning top marks from tourist publications, the peninsula is set for a business and development boom like it’s never seen before. According to calculations by the Preservation Society of Charleston, about 1,850 new hotel rooms have been proposed for the peninsula — and that could be bad news for livability. Robert Gurley, director of advocacy for the Preservation Society, says his concerns include density of development, increased traffic on narrow streets, and aesthetics that don’t mesh with the surrounding streetscape.
Other Charlestonians have more personal reservations about the coming tidal wave of change. Alluette Jones-Smalls owns Alluette’s Cafe, a world-famous soul food restaurant in the building that developers plan to tear down to build a hotel at 415 Meeting St. She figures she has another year before the owner sells the building and she’s forced to move. “How much more building can this little city handle?” she asks.