by Paul Bowers
Board of Architectural Review meetings are odd affairs. They can become every bit as contentious as, say, a City Council meeting, but the combatants are a specialized group: architects, neighborhood presidents, members of the old guard, artists, and people who really, really care about building design. They'll be important meetings to watch as the Charleston peninsula braces itself for what looks to be the next development boom.
At last week's BAR meeting, three big downtown projects were on the table. One, a set of six attached row houses in pricey Harleston Village, was granted conditional approval. Construction of the new homes, designed by Glenn Keyes Architects, will require the demolition of two one-story brick houses at 57 and 59 Barre St., which the board approved. Demolition permits won't be issued until a building permit is obtained.
Decisions on the other two major projects were deferred until a later BAR meeting, so they could be up for debate in coming months. One, the proposed Williams Terrace Senior Apartments, would go on Charleston Housing Authority-owned property near Aquarium Wharf and the potential site of a new cruise ship terminal. Situated at the northwest corner of Concord and Laurens streets, the five-story building would not be far from the former site of 162 public housing units that the city tore down in the early '90s after they sustained damage from Hurricane Hugo. A request for conceptual approval was deferred by the applicant, Eddie Bello of McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture.
A third application, for a five-story mixed-use building at 930 Morrison Drive, was deferred for lack of a quorum. The property, owned by UTCF LLC, is in an awkward spot, nestled at the corner of Morrison Drive and an offramp from the Ravenel Bridge. Steve Barton of Axiom Architecture applied for conceptual approval of the project.
(Hat tip to Kristin Walker of charlestoninsideout.net for spotting the big items coming up on the BAR agenda.)