The spirit of collaboration is alive and well, as demonstrated by recent developments between the developers of the long-stalled Sgt. Jasper project and Charleston's Board of Architectural Review (BAR).
The Beach Company, owner of the Jasper property, along with LS3P Associates, which is working on the project design, have asked the BAR for, and been granted, a “courtesy review” of the latest draft plans for the Jasper.
This reason for this “courtesy review”? So that the developer and architect, in the interest of collaboration with the BAR, can get the feedback of the members before submitting a final plan to the board.
The review will take place in a public forum. It will involve back-and-forth between the board and the developer. The final vote will, of course, be public, as well.
Some project opponents, however, eager to continue fighting despite a long legal battle and the resulting settlement between the city and The Beach Company, have jumped out in front of the public review process by attacking the developer’s draft plans.
Winslow Hastie, chief preservation officer of the Historic Charleston Foundation, didn’t wait for the “courtesy review”, instead taking to the Post & Courier to publicly criticize the plans.
Despite Hastie's tactics, however, the collaborative process between the BAR and The Beach Company may be more in line with the desire of some local leaders.
For example, while still a candidate, Mayor John Tecklenburg told the Charleston City Paper of the need to “work to facilitate more effective collaboration between developers and community interests.”
The Trident CEO Council, an organization of local business executives, also has made the issue of collaboration between the private and public sectors one of the organization’s main priorities.
“Working together becomes central to our region’s personality, an attractive trait, our brand,” notes the council’s Web site. “It has become a point of difference, an important selling point for new business, job creation, more investment and, yes, better ideas.”
World-renowned architect Joe Antunovich, the lead architect on the Sgt. Jasper project, also spoke of the importance of collaboration in an interview with Illinois Business Daily earlier this year.
“With regards to the politics of historic preservation boards and other governmental entities, we all really need to work together,” Antunovich said. “The most successful are the ones that listen and support one another. That is rule No. 1: be nice; No. 2: work together; and No. 3: listen and respect what each other says. Because if the goal is to restore and keep a wonderful historic building within the community, the rules should be clear and it is very clear what the rewards can be.”
The “courtesy review” will take place at tomorrow night's (Wednesday, 9/28) public BAR meeting, held at 4:30 p.m. in the Charleston Museum’s auditorium.
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