A $40 million, 250-unit apartment building with signature retail on the first floor is planned to be built at 584 Meeting St., replacing a modest brick house of worship used by the Eastside Missionary Baptist Church. The church plans to move to a larger space in North Charleston sometime next year.
JJR Development of Charleston purchased the 1.6-acre site from the church for $4 million and is expected to submit renderings of the five-story project to the Charleston Board of Architectural Review over the summer, said Jeffrey Roberts, managing member of JJR Development.
“There will be extraordinary 20-foot-high floor-to-ceiling glass on the first floor for retail in the lobby and we are in discussion with a national retail (tenant). There will be a second-floor garden element and green space, a swimming pool and lounge area,” Roberts said. “We view the highest and best use for 584 Meeting Street as mixed-use multi-family with this type of signature retail.”
JJR Development is partnering with MCZ Development of Chicago, which is moving to the Lowcountry, on the project. The church will continue to use the location until it secures its new space, planned for 3.5 acres at the intersection of Cross County and Dorchester roads.
Roberts said the opportunity to purchase the land was unexpected. In late 2020, the previous buyer of the church property pulled out of the deal at the last minute because of unexpected environmental mitigation that needed to be done on the property.
Roberts, who started JJR Development more than two decades ago, was personally contacted by church leadership about stepping in to purchase the property after the previous buyer pulled out.
“This was not on my radar whatsoever,” Roberts said. “Church leaders knew me and knew we were in a financial position to come in, and come in quickly,” Roberts said. “We get along so well with the church and its leadership, and the church was appreciative.”
JJR Development’s purchase of the property allowed the church to pay off its loans to the bank and move forward with plans for relocation, said Dwayne Green, the attorney for the church.
“Suffice it to say, it all worked out to the church’s benefit,” Green said. “It was truly a godsend, as it usually takes a lot of time to get one of these types of deals vetted.”
JJR Development took on the responsibility of paying for the environmental mitigation needed on the property.
“We worked with DHEC and engineers and with the assistance of our environmental partner at Nelson Mullins, and we resolved those issues,” Roberts said.
Roberts said the project will take over a year to build, working through approvals and permits, which is around the time the church’s new space will be ready for move-in.
“This will be a large project for us,” Roberts said. “We view that particular area along Meeting Street as conducive to growth and by the time this project gets finished, it will be a beautiful best-in-class offering.”