609 King Threatened by Demolition Request
preservation-admin , August 9, 2021
The proposed demolition of the one-story, Art Deco building at 609 King Street is back for BAR-L review this Wednesday, August 11. In May, the applicant deferred the request, due to comments from the public and City Staff calling for further investigation into the building’s cultural significance and history. Designed by notable Charleston architect Stephen Thomas and constructed in 1937, this building housed a series of immigrant and African American-owned businesses that contributed to a diverse and thriving commercial corridor in the early to mid-20th century, including a Chinese-owned laundry, a Greek-owned restaurant, and a Black-owned barbershop, to name a few.
The PSC will urge the BAR-L to deny the demolition request based on the structure’s sound condition, and the significance it lends to the cultural history and evolution of Upper King Street. It is unfortunate that the project team forged ahead in developing a new design without contemplating how to sensitively incorporate the building into their program. As the last remaining historic structure fronting this block, a heightened level of consideration should be given to its preservation, and we feel this building affords a unique opportunity to creatively approach a redevelopment plan that better addresses King Street and honors the history of the site.
Tune into the Board of Architectural Review – Large (BAR-L) meeting Wednesday, August 11 at 4:30 PM via Zoom.