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Public park not enough to sway Jasper’s neighbors

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The most recent plan proposed by The Beach Co. transformed the now-empty St. Mary’s Field into a 2.2-acre public park. (Rendering/The Beach Co.)The most recent plan proposed by The Beach Co. transformed the now-empty St. Mary’s Field into a 2.2-acre public park. (Rendering/The Beach Co.)

By Ashley Heffernan
aheffernan@scbiznews.com
Published Feb. 15, 2016

Residents living near the Sergeant Jasper site off Broad Street did not agree to another plan proposed by The Beach Co., this time including a public park.

Representatives from the property’s owner and developer, nearby neighborhood associations, the city and preservation groups have met three times since December to negotiate a plan to redevelop the land where the now-empty Sergeant Jasper Apartments building sits.

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The latest plan included “primarily residential uses, with limited density and height,” according to a news release from The Beach Co. St. Mary’s Field, which fronts Lockwood Boulevard and Broad Street adjacent to the Sergeant Jasper, would be made into a 2.2-acre public park.

The company blamed the Charlestowne Neighborhood Association and claimed its actions to “deliberately delay the review process for buildings on the site make this collaboration no longer feasible from an economic or timing perspective.”

“The groups who claim to fight for the beautification of our city are, in effect, preventing the chance to replace the Sergeant Jasper with a building of superior architecture and the positive transformation of the west end of Broad Street,” Beach Co. President and CEO John Darby said in the news release. “The groups have no consensus, no endgame and no proposed vision for this property, except to thwart change at all costs. At this point, we have to consider our property rights and our right to due process.”

The three meetings ended without a resolution, so now the company plans to reopen the existing Sergeant Jasper building, improve the surrounding site and proceed with its appeal of the Board of Architectural Review’s decision to deny its application.

“The city belongs to all citizens, yet none have been represented other than the vocal minority who oppose the project,” Darby said in the news release.

It’s unclear when the Sergeant Jasper Apartments will reopen.

Reach staff writer Ashley Heffernan at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyBHeff on Twitter.

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