The old Sergeant Jasper may be back in business
Developers, city staff, and community members were unable to come to an agreement regarding new plans for the Sergeant Jasper site, according to a statement released by the Beach Company Thursday evening.
After several proposed plans to redevelop the property stalled, the Beach Company says it will now work toward reopening the existing building to tenants and improve the surrounding property, while pursuing its appeal with the city's Board of Architectural Review.
In their statement, the Beach Company claims that actions by the Charlestowne Neighborhood Association deliberately delayed the review process for buildings on the site, making a collaboration no longer feasible for economic and timing reasons.
“The groups who claim to fight for the beautification of our city are, in effect, preventing the chance to replace the Sergeant Jasper with a building of superior architecture and the positive transformation of the west end of Broad Street,” said John Darby, president and CEO of the Beach Company, in the statement. “The groups have no consensus, no end game, and no proposed vision for this property, except to thwart change at all costs. At this point, we have to consider our property rights and our right to due process.”
After learning of the Beach Company’s announcement, a representative from the Charlestowne Neighborhood Association said they were stunned to hear the news.
“Especially puzzling is that the Beach Company met this morning with a representative of Harleston Village regarding the new plans, as HVA was unable to meet with the rest of the stakeholders on Friday,” said Jay Williams, co-chair of the Jasper Committee of the Charlestowne Neighborhood Association.
Included with the developer’s press release was what the Beach Company described as an example of one of the most recent plans under consideration for the property. Williams claims the neighborhood association had never seen these particular plans before they were released by the Beach Company Thursday evening, adding, “... presumably these are plans that were to be shown to all of the parties tomorrow.”
Virginia Bush, president of the Charlestowne Neighborhood Association, said the group strongly disagrees with the Beach Company’s allegations, and she argues that they were attempting to preserve public input in the debate over Sergeant Jasper.
“We believed the discussions were going well and that all parties were trying to accommodate a new development on the site as the Beach Company said it preferred that to refurbishing the old building,” Bush added. “We don’t understand why the Beach Company suddenly decided not to attend or show us these plans tomorrow, but we will be there as scheduled in the hope we can see them. We were promised a new plan at the last meeting, and we are anxious to see it. We are gravely disappointed that the Beach Company has made a unilateral decision to end discussions.”