Many are rightfully concerned about the proposal to put three mega-buildings at the foot of Broad Street, one of our main entrances into the City. We have been inspired to do a quick study to see what sorts of densities might be achieved on this site if instead the developers were to continue Charleston’s urban and architectural patterns as if this were a natural, organic extension of the neighborhood.
If the site is currently zoned “Urban” - which allows 12 units/acre - at 6.4 acres, this site would be zoned for up to 76 units. This is probably the appropriate zoning for this part of the city. However, if the current existing 220 units are grandfathered in, or if the argument for increased density here is valid - and maybe it is - still, Charleston-style urbanism can more than accommodate these numbers, while at the same time providing porches, gardens, greater traffic-alleviating connectivity, and greater diversity of incomes, ages, and family life. While the density of units is greater, the density of buildings shown in our scheme is on par with that found in sections of Church Street, or on nearby Trapman and Short Streets, or on Savage Street - found, in fact, in sections of all the charming neighborhoods in the city.
Everyone loves Charleston’s authentic architecture and urbanism - so much so that it is becoming unaffordable. Why not make more, and where is a better site? Perhaps there are appropriate places for mega-buildings, but district-scale preservation depends on urban and architectural consistency. The way to achieve this is by continuing those patterns and building the architectural typologies that have proven themselves so resilient, so flexible, so maintainable - in short, so valuable - in the first place. Charleston’s urban and architectural patterns have generated a city of internationally celebrated distinction. Why not continue those patterns?
We hope this might be of use and offer it as a contribution to the process of determining the best result for this site and for our City. Please feel free to share.
Christopher & Jenny