609 King Demolition Deferred by BAR-Large
preservation-admin , August 12, 2021
Last night the Board of Architectural Review-Large voted to defer their decision on the demolition request of 609 King Street to a later meeting.
While the PSC strongly urged denial, this is a hopeful step that will provide the Board another opportunity to consider the architectural and cultural significance of the building as a unique example of Art Deco design and a center for immigrant and African American-owned businesses in the early to the mid-20th century.
The PSC wholeheartedly agreed with Board member Jay White, who urged the Board to deny the application outright, based on its mandate under City Code to consider “the historic, architectural and aesthetic features of the structure, the nature and character of the surrounding area, and the historic and culturally important use of the structure and the importance to the city.” However, Board discussion revealed differing perspectives among members.
Preservation is an evolving practice, and what was considered important to preserve several decades ago does not necessarily reflect our values today. Today, we strive to maintain not just buildings of exceptional architecture, but also our vernacular buildings that help tell the full story of Charleston and all residents who helped shape its history.
In our view, 609 King Street is worthy of retaining as the last remaining physical record of the types of commercial buildings and businesses that historically occupied this block of Upper King. We will continue to appeal to the applicant to consider the value of preserving and incorporating the building into their redevelopment program, for the benefit of the public and future generations of Charleston residents.
Subscribe to our newsletter for further developments on this issue.