The city of North Charleston is looking for a master developer to own and plan a 70-acre waterfront development on the north end of the former Navy Base.
The vision is to create a “dynamic, high density, mixed commercial/residential use development” that aligns with the area’s existing Battery Park Master Plan, according to the city. The high-density development would have a minimum of 42 units per acre.
“This will be one of the most ambitious developments possibly in this city's history and it's going to be exciting to see unfold,” said Ryan Johnson, public information officer with the city of North Charleston. “(The plan) for the site calls for lots of green space, retaining public access to the waterfront and the waterways on Noisette Creek and the Cooper River.”
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A request for qualifications on the city’s website is asking developers to prove their capabilities in working on a site that large as well as mastery in working with cities in a public-private partnership. The project also will require acquiring federally owned properties. Submissions are due by March 17.
The development is part of the overall redevelopment effort for the former Charleston Navy Base, which closed in 1996. The city has slowly been redeveloping the site piecemeal as legislation moves forward for acquisitions, property transfers and access. Recent developments on the site include Riverfront Park, the Noisette Creek Pedestrian Bridge and renovated Admiral's House.
Specific legislation allowing for the transfer of and access to the newest 70-acre site was passed in December 2022 in the National Defense Authorization Act, which got the ball rolling to begin a search for a master developer, Johnson said.
The city has gotten the word out about the request for qualifications through its procurement department list, reaching out to development councils, realtor associations, chamber of commerce connections and the local media, Johnson said.
The project has also landed on the radar of graduate students studying urban design and other similar disciplines. The Urban Land Institute holds a Hines Student Urban Design Competition each year and chose the 70-acre site as a real-world example for the competition.
Johnson said the city expects to have a healthy number of submissions for its request for qualifications.
“This is a prime site in the Southeast and a rare opportunity,” Johnson said. “To be in the Lowcountry and have a 70-acre site on the water is a unique site that we think will attract attention from a lot of prestigious companies.”