Tag Archives: mt. pleasant

This Recent Article in the Post and Courier features three of our projects in Mt. Pleasant that are part of the new Zoning to create more pedestrian friendly streetscapes along Coleman Blvd.

MOUNT PLEASANT — Call it Suburbia 2.0 — or maybe 3.0.

A handful of new developments along Coleman and Ben Sawyer boulevards shows that what some have derided as sprawl can be remade into something better — one building at a time.  The town has a history of being a leader in this area. It was among the first to require architectural review for new buildings and major renovations along its busiest streets.  That led not only to more interesting buildings but also better landscaping, more modest signs and pedestrian friendly touches along the town’s most well traveled roads.  But the town’s new zoning — one that encourages “activity zones” — is taking things a step further.  The most recent example can be seen at the new pocket park next to the Heritage Trust Federal Credit Union at 847 Coleman — former site of a Burger King.  Designed by landscape architect J.R. Kramer of Remark Studio, the park offers a small shady space with large timber benches, a nice break for anyone on foot or on bike. Rows of palmetto, live oak and columnar tulip trees add an appealing sculptural quality.  The bank building, by Level5 architects of Atlanta, is two stories tall along the street, much like the new Juanita Greenberg’s restaurant at 410 Coleman.  That restaurant — which offers some outdoor dining along the sidewalk and along a side porch —is among the first projects done under the town’s new rules to make Coleman, Ben Sawyer, Johnnie Dodds and Chuck Dawley boulevards more appealing to those not in cars — more like Main Streets than simply commuting roads peppered with offices and shops.

“It is trying to get more activity and more density there, and it’s something that takes time,” Town Planning Director Christiane Farrell says. “This doesn’t happen even in five years.”  Farrell says Coleman has been important to the town historically, and the new rules are designed to restore its central role.  The zoning allows property owners to build slightly higher and denser and gives them reductions in buffers and setbacks.  In return, the town not only wants good architecture but also activity zones — places where people can eat, shop or simply hang out along the street.  The town also led by example in creating the farmers market sheds along Coleman next to Moultrie Middle School three years ago.  Since then, the private sector is following suit. A new terrace outside Yobe frozen yogurt, decorated with umbrellas and tables, is a small example of the kind of activity zone the town wants to see. The terrace is made from pervious concrete so it doesn’t pose a drainage problem.

And the best example so far can be found just down Ben Sawyer Boulevard from Yobe, where the Triangle Char & Bar has a series of tables and chairs, along with flags and greenery separating the diners from the passing traffic.  Kramer, who worked on that project as well, applauds the town for the change.  “They’re really thinking long-term how things are linked up to create an urban pedestrian feeling,” Kramer said.  It’s not exactly urban, but it’s certainly a better kind of suburban.

“We’re not trying to recreate something that’s in some other place,” Farrell says. “It’s taking what we’ve got and being able to enhance it.”  And now, with the addition of some onstreet parking, these places could get better still.
Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771

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Triangle Restaurant

A new restaurant has opened in Mt. Pleasant with landscape architecture by REMARK. Although this project came with its own challenges and opportunities, the result is a wonderful new place for the people in the Charleston area to dine, along with a sustainable landscape.

The new Triangle Char and Bar opened its East Cooper location last week and is already a success among evening hot spots.  This project is unique as a remodel of an existing commercial space.  It is located in the shopping center at 1440 Ben Sawyer Blvd, on your way out to the beach.  The addition of a metal awning on two sides of the building set the stage for a wonderful new outdoor dining space.  The existing small concrete walkway that hugged the street side of the building is replaced with a generous, permeable concrete patio.  The existing Oak trees lend an established air to the space while providing much needed shade in the evenings, and are augmented by new generous plantings of native palms and groundcovers.  The before and after photos are truly amazing.

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The future home of Juanita Greenbergs Restaurant in Mt. Pleasant is currently under construction.  Our plans for the front public space include a walkway/patio with Live Oaks as street trees.  To ensure the long terms health of the trees and to protect the surrounding hardscape, we have utilized a structural fill in the planters.  Over the last week the site was excavated, the tree wells located, and the structural fill installed.  The photos show the process from start to finish.


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Project Description:

This residence in the Old Village of Mt. Pleasant was newly constructed within the context of an existing neighborhood of mainly ranch style homes.  The use of terraces helped to bring down the scale of the house and also served as a welcoming entrance from the street.  Old style details of brick and tabby concrete were used to harmonize with the traditional style of the house and provide warmth and human scale.  The retaining walls out front serve a dual function as seatwall and planter for the rain gardens that capture water from the site.  All native plants were organized in a traditional fashion to enhance the home.  Wood fences provide privacy for the side and rear gardens, where a simple lawn and native plantings provide a functional retreat for the owners and their pets.


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A feature article in the Local & State section of the Post and Couriertoday highlights a recent completed project REMARK was involved in.  The new Bojangles restaurant in Mt. Pleasant just opened last week and the architecture critic, Robert Behre, interviewed JR of Remark and Richard Gowe of LS3P architects.  Below is the article written by Behre.

MOUNT PLEASANT — Most people who don’t like America’s suburbs have a long and legitimate list of complaints.These gripes include: Many buildings waste land; they’re too homogenous; they’re solely car-oriented; and they simply look cheap.

The new Bojangles’ at U.S. Highway 17 and Main Road went through Charleston’s Commercial Corridor Design Review, which required the chain to move away from its stock design and add other touches, such as this brick fence that screens the parking lot.

But now that many cities and towns have some architectural review process that scrutinizes new development — at least significant buildings on major highways — things are beginning to change.  It’s not that new suburban development is looking urban like downtown Charleston, but it is beginning to address, with success, some of the gripes.

Take the two new Bojangles’ restaurants here and at U.S. Highway 17 and Main Road.

The Mount Pleasant restaurant at 1644 U.S. Highway 17 involved a remodeling of an inexpensive retail store that was built with a single width of concrete block.  Richard Gowe of LS3P Associates Ltd., who worked on the design with architect Brian Wurst, improved it by removing a large, awkward porte-cochere out front and by extending the building’s block walls up about five feet to screen the heating and air conditioning units on top.  Gowe says the design also included a series of windows larger than found in most fast food restaurants, as well as an outdoor eating space.

But the real achievement here might be the extensive site work, which included planting about 45 new trees on the one-acre site. J.R. Kramer, a landscape architect with Remark of North Charleston, also created three bioswales — low areas that not only collect rainwater but also hold and filter it.

Kramer says all new plants are native and not only provide a sense of place and wildlife habitat, but they also change with the seasons and need less water and pruning.

River birch trees on the western end provide shade in the summer but lose their leaves in the winter and allow sun to hit the building.

“We integrated stormwater with landscape architecture,” Kramer says. “This is the future.”

The Bojangles’ in southern Charleston went before that city’s Commercial Corridor Design Review Board, which — like Mount Pleasant –required a taller parapet to shield mechanical equipment as well as larger windows in the dining area.

The city also required the chain to use a more muted shade of its trademark orange. While its plantings aren’t nearly as elaborate as those in the Mount Pleasant restaurant, the site is bordered by a handsome new brick wall that screens the parking lot.  “Because the parking lot is raised, it works pretty well,” Gowe says. “With review boards, all 360 degrees of the site have to be addressed.”

Of course, this comes at a cost.  Kevin Archer of K-Bo, Inc., which developed the Bojangles’, estimates the review boards added about 27 percent to the cost of designing and building the two restaurants.  “It’s not a small number,” Gowe says of 27 percent. “I have out of town people (saying) we are concerned about design review boards.”  But Archer also concedes they’re attracting more business, because the stores look more upscale and inviting.  “With review boards, it takes longer but the results are superior,” Gowe says. “You have to acknowledge that.”

Robert Behre

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