A huge riverfront development on Mount Pleasant’s premiere tract of undeveloped land is one step closer to approval, despite some concerns raised by the town’s top administrators.
Bridgeside II, the 45-acre development planned for the land just east of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, will bring two hotels, two apartment buildings, premiere office space as well as restaurants and retail.
A town council committee gave approval to most of the project’s plans on Monday, but the town administrator and Mount Pleasant’s lead planner raised questions about Bridgeside’s schedule for developing the land.
FrontDoor Communities, the developer, plans to first build an apartment building. Town planners then want something other than apartments constructed on the property.
The concern is that town’s most desirable chunk of land would be home to just two apartment complexes and nothing else.
“We have other examples around town where promises didn’t materialize,” said Town Administrator Eric DeMoura.
Town leaders have repeatedly called the proposed site Mount Pleasant’s “Front Door,” because of its high visibility as motorists cross the bridge.
The developers say there’s no way they’d invest in the multi-million-dollar piece of property and then only construct apartments.
“The project fails if we just have 300 apartments and nothing else,” said Skipper Woody, an attorney working with the developer.
FrontDoor wants to construct 300 apartment units first, because currently mult-family developments are the easiest to finance. Developers can later add 130 apartment units if a second non-apartment building is constructed, or if developers sell a parcel for the development of a second non-apartment use, according to FrontDoor's agreement with the town.
The other uses – a limited services hotel and a full service hotel, as well as Class-A office space – are more difficult to build because tenants have to be secured first, said Mike Langella, president of FrontDoor Communities.
The town council committee approved almost all of Bridgeside’s plans Monday, but Langella said the town’s planning office and his organization were not likely to reach an agreement on a construction timeline.
“We think the proposal is fair, respectful and reflects today’s market,” Langella said.
Now the proposal moves to the town council for a full vote.