Thursday, February 8, 2018

Proposed 100-unit timeshare on Calhoun and East Bay failed to clear BAR

The former Veggie Bin building was approved for demolition

Posted by Adam Manno on Thu, Feb 8, 2018 at 2:12 PM

  • Courtesy of the City of Charleston
The developer of a proposed 100-unit timeshare development on Calhoun and East Bay street will need to draft up new design plans to take before the Board of Architectural Review.

At a meeting Wednesday night, board members pointed out multiple issues with the design of the Liberty by Hilton Club. Members were worried about an exposed parking lot along Alexander Street, as well as the angle of the sidewalk on the asymmetrical corner on Calhoun and East Bay streets.

The existing properties at 475 and 485 East Bay Street house a Starbucks, a Top Shape fitness, and the tech incubator Charleston Digital Corridor.

The BAR approved demolition of everything except a small vestige property dated between 1872 and 1902.

However, in the design plans proposed by a representative of the Strand Capital Group, the vestige seems to end up in the middle of the parking lot, blocking a driveway. The Board of Zoning Appeals granted Strand a special exemption for the five-story project on Tuesday.

A few members of the public expressed their distaste with the design and architecture of the building. One person delivered a pre-written speech comparing the walls to a "deadly skin disease." He said that while some would call it a "bank," he would sooner compare it to a "grandiose mausoleum."

Chris Cody of the Historic Charleston Foundation praised the applicant's communication with the foundation, but noted issues with pedestrian access and elevation of the western and northern facades.

"We just think it’s a very unfriendly streetscape that would be created," he said.

Robert Burley of the Preservation Society suggested that the building be broken up into two parts to avoid a long facade down East Bay Street.

After a motion to deny conceptual approval for the new development failed, the Board voted to defer the application instead.

The metal building that housed the old Veggie Bin location at 10 Society Street was approved for demolition, with BAR chair Dennis Dowd concluding that the decaying property, which is vulnerable to rising seas and more volatile weather, "contributes little to the streetscape."

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