Laurel Island Development Plans Dropped

The plans to develop a prime piece of real estate on the upper peninsula of Charleston have been dropped by the developer. North American Properties has decided against the development of the 160 acre site on Laurel Island, which would have created a $1 billion mixed-use community. The developer’s managing partner Mark Toro announced “we have made a decision to discontinue our pursuit of the Lorelei project.” He said “we are not pleased with how things transpired, but we have to move on to other opportunities.”

The main problem concerned gaining access to the Laurel Island site, which ultimately lead to North American Properties dropping their plans to develop the 160 acres of land. “It was a matter of getting access for the density that was proposed, Mr. Toro said. “There was simply a disagreement about how much infrastructure is going to be required to support the project.” The developer wanted to build four lanes to access the island, but Charleston city officials were opposed.  City officials were concerned about the volume of traffic that would impact the surrounding community near Cool Blow Street and were not willing to provide an easement necessary to build the four lane road.  The developer wanted to build a four lane bridge over two rail lines and a marsh, and tie the bridge in with the Cool Blow Street and Meeting Street intersection.

Mr. Toro said that this four lane bridge was necessary to deal with the volume of traffic expected to be created from the thousands of residences and numerous businesses that would have been developed. A city official said however, that an independent study done showed that a four lane bridge was not necessary. Josh Martin, senior advisor to Mayor John Tecklenburg said “there are two other access points to the property.” He noted that that there would have been access to the Laurel Island a few blocks north of where the proposed bridge would be developed at Romney and Brigade Streets. “While the Laurel Island site may not have been an ideal fit for these developers’ very large plans, the city continues to support appropriate development of the upper peninsula and Laurel Island,” said Jacob Lindsey, the city’s planning director.

Source: Post & Courier, “Developer drops plan for Laurel Island,” by Warren Wise, June 6, 2017

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