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Developers plan to reposition Navy Yard into mixed-use development

Staff Report //March 30, 2021//

Developers plan to reposition Navy Yard into mixed-use development

Staff Report //March 30, 2021//

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The Navy Yard is getting new life breathed into it.

Real estate investment company Jamestown and Charleston real estate developers William Cogswell and Jay Weaver are repositioning the 45-acre North Charleston Navy Yard into a mixed-use neighborhood, according to a Jamestown news release.

The development will be dubbed Navy Yard Charleston and will bring more than 1.2 million square feet of office space, residences, shopping and dining, as well as green spaces, a concert hall and an outdoor events venue.

“The naval historic district has great bones and a tremendous amount of character,” Cogswell said. “We are excited to be a part of all the positive things that are happening both in North Charleston and the region as a whole. We couldn’t have a better or more aligned partner than Jamestown, a company that has created huge success with the long-term vision they have brought to their properties across the globe.” 

The project is currently in the design phase but ground is expected to be broken this year. Until then, the teams are planning how to repurpose the site as well as preserve the area’s character, architectural detail and history, the release said.

The Navy Yard originally began as a dry dock in 1901 and maintained a naval presence until it was decommissioned in 1996. Today, nearly 25 companies have made a home on the property near Park Circle. Businesses include breweries, underwater welders, bakers, custom lighting designers and blacksmiths.

This isn’t the first time developers have attempted to bring economic development to the former naval base in North Charleston. The Noisette Co. planned massive development that would have taken decades to complete, but the Great Recession undermined the financial viability of the effort.

North Charleston also got into a legal squabble over development of a rail yard by a division of the S.C. Commerce Department. That was eventually settled after a foreclosure sale of some of the property.

The property at the naval base has continued to move in fits and starts with businesses continuing to grow and move to the area. Remnants of some of those efforts, including Riverfront Park and the redevelopment of warehouses into commercial space, can be seen today.

Jamestown, which has headquarters in Atlanta and Cologne, Germany, is best known for its developments at Atlanta’s Ponce City Market, New York’s Chelsea Market and Brooklyn’s Industry City.

With its North Charleston venture, the company plans to reserve specific jobs for local workers and said in the release it will create a neighborhood employment program to stimulate economic growth.

Previously, the community-focused real estate firm established a similar program at Ponce City Market, which employed dozens of local residents during the neighborhood’s construction. The development is now a major employer as 90 primarily creative and technology businesses provide jobs to more than 5,200 individuals.

North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said he looks forward to working with Jamestown, Cogswell and Weaver.

“They are continuing to establish the vision we placed for the Navy Yard once it closed,” he said. “Historic structures, community rebirth, and a revitalized future in an area that needs attention. Jay and William have a track record in North Charleston, and we know of the great communities Jamestown has created. Good things come to those who wait.”