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The project poised to take over the Upper Peninsula

street sign at the meeting and line intersection
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The vision for Courier Square is even bigger than you think

Take a good look at the Upper Peninsula, because chances are– you won’t be able to recognize it in ten years.

The traffic cones, cranes, + metal plates may have already tipped you off that changes are afoot. But what you may not realize is just how significant those alterations are.

cranes in the sky

Cranes litter the sky above Charleston’s Upper Peninsula, where rapid development is taking place

One major driving force of the impending transformation?– Your local newspaper. Yes, The Post and Courier’s parent company, Charleston-based Evening Post Industries, actually owns a huge chunk of the land surrounding the P&C’s Columbus Street office.

And now, they’ve cooked up a long-term plan to install a massive, mixed-use development called Courier Square. This plan is hardly small potatoes; it calls for a near-total conversion of 12 acres of prime, downtown real estate.

According to a rendering on Evening Post Industries’ website, Courier Square will ultimately be comprised of most (but not quite all) of the property between Line, Spring, Meeting + St. Phillip Streets.

The undertaking is split into six phases. Little information has been released about what plans for the later phases entail; but Phase I, situated in between Line, Meeting + Columbus Streets, is already well in the works.

Phase 1: 2.8 acres

greystar hq in courier square on upper peninsula

Phase 1 of Courier Square is located at Meeting + Columbus Streets, + includes, in part, a five-story office building

A five-story stucco + stone building that faces Meeting St. will house 70,000 square feet of office space in its upper floors. The structure will be anchored by the world headquarters of Greystar, a real-estate behemoth that manages more than 400,000 residences across the globe (making it the largest operator of apartments in the U.S.).

But Greystar will serve as more than just a tenant: the firm is also one of two firms heading the development of Phase 1– the other being Charlotte-based Lincoln Harris.

the guild apartment complex

The Guild, an eight-story luxury apartment complex, is part of Phase 1 of Courier Square

Next door to the office building is The Guild, an eight-story (a high rise by Charleston’s terms), brick apartment complex managed by Greystar. Like its neighbor, this building has space to host storefronts at street level. On the upper levels are 220 luxury apartment units, boasting amenities such as:

  • A rooftop pool overlooking the Charleston Harbor
  • A parking garage
  • An outdoor lounge with a kitchen, grills + a fire pit
  • A wine tasting room
  • Car + golf cart charging stations
  • A tool + craft shop
  • A pet spa

The apartments are complete + leasing is now open. Interested in moving in? Currently, a studio apartment will cost you at least $2,060.

Another Greystar apartment complex, Elan Midtown, is one block over from the Guild. Their motto is “all status, no quo.”

torn up railroad tracks behind the guild

Part of the Lowcountry Low Line will exist between the Post + Courier building and The Guild

Nestled in between the two buildings + the Evening Post Industries/Post & Courier office is a track of defunct railroad that will eventually be converted into part of the Lowcountry Low Line– a linear park catering to pedestrians + cyclists that will extend through downtown Charleston. Crews have already begun ripping up the tracks in that area. You can read more about plans for the Lowcountry Low Line here.

Phases 2-4

intersection of line and st. phillips streets

Phase 2 of Courier Square will sit at the corner of Line + St. Phillip Streets

Since plans for Phase 2-4 have not yet been presented to the city, we still don’t really know anything about them. What we do know is that their intended location runs along King + St. Phillips Streets, in between Spring + Line Streets.

Part of that property currently functions as a parking lot for Evening Post Industries employees. It also contains a handful of 1950’s-era buildings that are already on track to be demolished as part of the project.

construction of hoffler place

A student apartment building that’s being built at the corner of King + Spring Streets is not affiliated with Courier Square, but is adjacent to the future site of Phase 4

According to that draft of the plan, it appears as though Phases 3+4 could involve extending Columbus Street to run between King + St Phillips Streets (right now, the street ends at its intersection with King Street)– though that has yet to be confirmed.

Phases 5 + 6

post and courier office

The Post and Courier office + print building make up Phases 5 + 6 of Courier Square

The final two phases of Courier Square involve the actual Post + Courier office + printing press. Again, few details have been announced about this stage of the development.

The effort to convert these city blocks is remarkable all on its own. Consider it, along with the extensive number of separate developments underway in the neighborhood, and you’re looking at a total transformation of the Upper Peninsula.

The area gets its fair share of hate– and I get it, there’s some room for improvement. But you can’t deny the U.P. has characterand I hope that its finer points won’t get lost in the sea of change.

Particularly: the (comparatively) affordable rent, the (relatively) tolerable traffic flow, the single-family-home-style residential vibe, and, most importantly, the abundance of friendly, neighborhood cats.🐱