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Preservation Society gets aggressive

Call for members to oppose new hotel on King Street
Warwick Jones, Editor

It is tempting to think that it was the hostility to the proposed Clemson School of Architecture that stirred its spirit. But we believe that the Preservation Society of Charleston has been concerned for some time about the accelerating degradation of the historic district of the City. What we are now seeing may be an energized Society in the face of a major threat, not just from the proposed School of Architecture, or from the proposed hotel it is now opposing, but from a slew of developments that seem to have the blessing of the City.

Of course, the Preservation Society and the Historic Charleston Foundation (HCF) were formed essentially to preserve the historic fabric of Charleston. And all things considered they have done well. Both have expressed concern recently about some major developments. The Preservation Society, well ahead of the HCF, rose strongly to oppose the Clemson School of Architecture's building on George Street, an action that seems to have been applauded by the majority of citizens. It may have been this unprecedented expression by the citizenry that prompted the Society to become even more active in opposing offensive developments. Or maybe it is the frustration, that even with the unprecedented outpouring of opposition, the City remains resolute in its support of the Clemson School, and that stiffer action is necessary.

The present issue is over the new Hilton hotel that is planned for King Street by Marion Square. We do not have details, only pictures of scale models. The Society has sent a letter to all its members asking that they attend the new BAR meeting and speak against its construction. The building is too large and inappropriate for the site the Society says.

Marion 1.jpg


"Don't let this happen", it says to members.

If this building is approved it means:
• Taller out-of-scale buildings
• Canyonization of Marion Square
• Destruction of our historic skyline and streetscape
• Destruction of historic areas
• Vehicular and pedestrian gridlock
We need your attendance at the Board of Architectural Review to be held next Wednesday December 14th at 4.30 pm at 75 Calhoun Street.

Viewers can form their own opinion as to the new building. We share the Preservation Society's view. We also understand that Save the City is opposed to the building and expect it will appear before the BAR in opposition. At this stage we do not know whether the Historic Charleston Foundation will speak against the structure. We hope it does and that it maintains the resolution that it is now showing in opposing the Clemson School of Architecture. It also expressed general concern over planned developments in the City at the time it expressed opposition to the Clemson Project, and promised to conduct a seminar. We think a seminar is sorely needed to prompt a reassessment by the City of its planning and zoning. We also think it would be an excellent opportunity for the HCF to burnish its image, which some of us think has been tarnished in recent years by reluctance to stand up to the City and some of its proposals.

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