Philadelphia-based group pitches 45-acre development on one of Mount Pleasant’s signature tracts of land.
By:Adam Crisp
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Town officials have received plans for a massive 45-acre development along the Cooper River in Mount Pleasant that includes office space, hotels and homes.

The Bridgeside plan calls for 330,000 square feet of office space, 60,000 square feet of commercial space, 573 residential units and 450 hotel rooms, along with space for 2,000 cars.

The tract of land, tucked behind the Omar Shrine Temple and next to the Renaissance condominiums, and in direct line of sight from the Ravenel Bridge, is one of the last remaining pieces of waterfront property west of Patriots Point.

“Just because of the piece of property we’re talking about, it’s unique; it’s a substantial development because of its size and because of where it is,” said Christiane Farrell, director of the town’s planning and development office.

The developer, Frontdoor Communities, is asking the town to rezone the property. Currently it has a generic “area-wide business” and “planned development” classifications.

The developer wants the land zoned for mixed-use, planned development and suburban-urban. Developers also are seeking assessment of impact fees and approval of its conceptual plan.

The town’s Planning Commission will take up the application at its Jan. 18 meeting.

The property is owned by Philadelphia-based Lubert-Adler developers, a “real estate investment firm” with $16 billion in coastal developments across the country, according to its website.

The town considers all the land along the Cooper River to be so important, planners specifically mentioned it when writing Mount Pleasant’s 10-year development plan. But building along the river comes with strings.

Projects in the so-called “Waterfront Gateway District” have to include the following:

A network of pedestrian paths and streetscapes, including walks along the waterfront.

Land uses should be mixed, including hotels and lodging facilities, tourist attractions, recreational and marine facilities, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

Outdoor retail environments should be encouraged.

Opportunity for local public transit, possibly a shuttle, should be considered.

Bridgeside will set aside 15 to 20 percent of its acreage for public open space, including hardscape plazas, a waterfront walk and open green spaces, according to plans submitted to the town for review.

“The town’s comprehensive plan calls for public access to the water, and they have included that in their plan,” Farrell said.
Currently the planning and development office is studying the development’s plan. The traffic office is also studying how the plan will impact traffic. They will make suggestions to the Planning Commission on Jan. 18, Farell said.

If the commission votes to approve that that meeting, the town’s planning committee will look at the proposal in February and then the council must vote twice to affirm the project. The project could get approval by April, said Councilwoman Thomasena Stokes-Marshall, who chairs the planning committee.

“I have met at least two times with the developer, as well as with our planning department, to discuss the project,” Stokes-Marshall said. “I feel like we have a pretty good match here.”
The project includes hotel convention space and retail developments, Stokes-Marshall said. And the developer is proposing substantial preservation of the green spaces there, she said.
“It’s the window to the Town of Mount Pleasant,” she said. “It has to be attractive … it has to be top-notch, because of how important this property is to the town.”


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