Thursday, March 10, 2016

Latest Sgt. Jasper plan deferred

Back to the drawing board

Posted by Dustin Waters on Thu, Mar 10, 2016 at 10:46 AM

click to enlarge A rendering of the proposed Plan A for the Sgt. Jasper site - PROVIDED BY THE BEACH CO.
  • Provided by the Beach Co.
  • A rendering of the proposed Plan A for the Sgt. Jasper site
As with so many other plans that have gone before it, the most recent proposal for redeveloping the Sgt. Jasper site has been put on hold.

Charleston’s Board of Architectural Review voted unanimously Wednesday evening to defer a request by the Beach Company for a mixed-use development that would include office and retail space as well as a 490-space parking garage surrounding the Sgt. Jasper apartment building. Ironically called Plan A, this latest proposal comes after numerous other failed attempts to redevelop the property.

Plan A would include reopening Sgt. Jasper to tenants and the construction of a five-and-a-half story office building fronted by retail space at the corner of Broad and Barre streets, a two-story office building along Broad Street, and a parking garage at the north end of the development. The members of the BAR motioned for deferral to allow the developer to reconsider the height and scale of the new construction. City staff and residents living near the site were also critical of the lack of architectural unity between the proposed buildings and the existing Sgt. Jasper building, which many call an eyesore.

Architect Joe Antunovich described the architectural relationship between the new buildings and the 1950s tower as “sympathetic.”

“I think that the existing building is the existing building. It’s a building of its time — brick with some limestone trim,” he said. “We will use materials that are sensitive to those materials outwardly, brick and stone, and in that manner, we make the connection. We don’t want to replicate the architecture of the building that’s there.”

Prior to the BAR’s decision, the Beach Company described Plan A as their best option should a judge deny their appeal regarding a previous plan which was denied by the board. Beach Company President and CEO John Darby said they presented their case to court last month and are currently awaiting a ruling. In the meantime, Beach Company faces yet another speed bump in the redevelopment of the Sgt. Jasper site.

“We received word this morning that the city staff was going to recommend deferral. It’s pretty disappointing that we’ve been working with them for a couple of months,” said Darby following the board’s decision. “A lot of what you saw tonight came from feedback from city staff and their planning folks, and I’m disappointed that they waited until the last minute to give us feedback. It’s a horrible way to do business.”

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