Advocacy Alert: Morrison Yard Phase III Heads to BAR
preservation-admin , September 12, 2022
This Wednesday, the third phase of the massive Morrison Yard development will go before the Board of Architectural Review-Large (BAR-L) for conceptual review. For reference, the first two phases are wrapping up construction on the east side of Morrison Drive near the foot of the Ravenel Bridge, and there is no mistaking this highly conspicuous development, which has come to dominate views as you approach downtown from Mount Pleasant – see below.
Left: Morrison Yard office building at 850 Morrison Drive; right: Morrison Yard residential building at 838 Morrison Drive
The third phase of the project consists of a hotel and apartment complex and is slated for 860 Morrison Drive, sandwiched between the contemporary office building and highway overpass. The property is within the Upper Peninsula Zoning district, which allows significant height and density, but is intended to give back to the community in terms of diverse housing options, active ground floors, and preservation of natural areas and views.
Top: Map of project site at 860 Morrison Drive outlined in red; left: rendering of proposed project as viewed from Morrison Drive; right: rendering of proposed project as viewed from the Ravenel Bridge
The majority of new development on the Morrison Drive corridor has not delivered on these expectations, which underscores the importance of holding new construction to the highest standard of review, especially for sites like this, which serve as gateways to the city. Top quality materials and design, compatibility with Charleston’s unique character, a pedestrian-friendly experience, and retention of views to the bridge and river are our priorities for the project. We’ve engaged in productive conversations with the applicant team, and while we appreciate concessions made to reduce the scale of the project by breaking up the buildings into distinct masses, there is no getting around the incredible impact the development will have on our skyline.