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Downtown Historic Storage Facility to Be Converted to New Mixed-Use Development

Downtown Historic Facility to Become Mixed-Use Development

A new mixed-use development is in the planning stages at the site of AAA Downtown Storage, a 294 unit storage business.  An Ohio developer and a local real estate investment firm have bought 12 parcels of land surrounding the historic storage facility at 44 Line Street for $8.7 million. The new development will extend to Sheppard, Meeting and Line streets and an old railroad line. The developers hope to build new apartments and businesses with open spaces, on the mid-peninsula site.  The Post & Courier reports that the new developers and property managers include Lifestyle Communities of Columbus Ohio, and The Seine Group of Charleston.

The main storage facility dates back to 1857, and will be preserved under the city’s historic preservation rules. The Preservation Society of Charleston waived a right of first refusal it held on the site for the last 32 years, but will retain an option to buy the property if it comes on the market again. Justin Ferira, Seine’s CEO, said the plans are to “showcase the historic building.” The developers will work alongside The Preservation Society of Charleston to renovate the property. Kristopher King, Executive Director of the historic preservation society said “A storage warehouse is not the highest and best use of that property. He added, “We are intrigued by the idea of having a public use there.”

There are also two historic homes on the property acquired for the mixed-use development, and these properties may have to be incorporated in the developer’s plans. “We oppose the relocation of historic structures,” King said. “They need to show us a strong case as a benefit for having them moved,”  he added. “The onus is on them to show what is best for that property and the historic structures.”

The property will undergo environmental testing of soil samples to detect any contamination. Previous use of the property by other businesses may have resulted in some contamination of lead, arsenic and other substances in the soil. An environmental study of the site showed that water samples are fine.

Source: Post & Courier report, “Buyers to Showcase Historic Downtown Site,” by Warren Wise, June 15, 2016

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