Local officials cleared the way on June 27 for hundreds of apartments and more than half a million sq. ft. of hotel, retail and office space at Bridgeside, a new mixed-use community planned for the waterfront across from downtown Charleston, S.C.
Construction could begin as soon as 2013 as developers finalize deals with partners and finance companies. “Interest has been tremendous already from many parties who want to take this project vertical,” says Mike Langella, president of Atlanta-based Frontdoor Communities, the lead developer for the property. “Bridgeside—a forward-thinking development set in one of the nation’s most attractive industry and visitor destinations—is officially open for business,” he adds.
Mount Pleasant city planners and elected officials voted unanimously to approve the plans, which required zoning changes for Bridgeside’s 46-acre waterfront site, now occupied by trees and marsh. According to local news reports, planners were most interested in the two hotels planned for the site, totaling 450 hotel rooms or 333,000 sq. ft., and including a conference hotel and a limited service hotel. Frontdoor Communities promises both hotels will be “flagged” hotels run by national hotel chains. These hotels would provide meeting space for the local business community and support for a growing tourism industry.
The plan will also allow up to 573 high-quality apartments. Demand should be high—the multifamily vacancy rate in Charleston has fallen steadily in recent years to reach 5.2 percent in the first quarter, according to New York-based data firm Reis Inc.
Bridgeside will also include 330,000 sq. ft. of office space, including room for class-A office buildings and satellite office sites. On the heels of the Boeing Company’s move to Charleston, the region currently reports class-A inventory available to rent is at the lowest level in a decade. The vacancy rate for office space was 17.5 percent in the first quarter, according to Reis, close to the national average and down a percentage point from the year before.
Bridgeside is one of the last remaining sites on Patriots Point waterfront in the town of Mount Pleasant. It’s directly across Charleston Harbor from downtown Charleston. The location gives the site both quick access to the city and views of the Charleston skyline. Its neighbors include the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum on one side and the Mount Pleasant’s Waterfront Park on the other. Local beaches, golf courses and shopping are nearby and the College of Charleston Baseball Stadium is across the street.
Bridgeside is also only 15 minutes away from the Charleston International Airport and the new Boeing South Carolina production facility, which has brought thousands of new jobs to the area. In 2010, Money magazine named Mount Pleasant one of the best small cities in the U.S.
The property is owned by Lubert Adler Partners, a Philadelphia-based private equity firm and real estate company based that owns numerous assets in the area. FrontDoor Communities is the master developer for the site. The local office of Colliers International is assisting with the request for proposals process to identify development partners and retail and office tenants for the property.