CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) — Plans for two large-scale hotels in downtown Charleston are moving forward after months of delays and dozens of meetings. Both hotels could be the last of their kind to come to the Charleston Peninsula.
Work resumed earlier this week on the 200-plus-room Cooper Hotel just days after plans for another city center were approved. City leaders say this is a clear sign of tourist demand in the holy city.
City leaders say construction, especially hotel development, is picking up after the pandemic in Charleston.
“Renewed interest if you will in pursuing hotel or lodging-type projects, especially in a place like Charleston,” said Robert Summerfield, director of planning, preservation and sustainability at the city of Charleston.
The Cooper Hotel is set to be Charleston’s newest luxury waterfront hotel after a downturn due to COVID-19. Just last week, the city’s zoning board approved plans for a 175-room full-service hotel to replace The Alley, a popular downtown bowling alley.
But city leaders say they could be the last of their size built on the peninsula.
“Recognizing that these big hotels have impacts and not trying to create a concentration of that,” Summerfield says. “The overlay limits the number of full-service hotels.”
Summerfield says hotels are so important for the city’s tourism but need to be limited for livability.
“It’s important that we don’t create this congregation of large hotels, that we expand them as much as possible,” says Summerfield.
City leaders say the Charleston Peninsula hit its maximum limit for full-service hotels with more than 175 rooms after approving the latest plan. They say smaller boutique hotels can still be built on the peninsula. For now, the focus remains on making these hotels some of the best in Charleston.
“Maintaining our tourism economy and keeping it robust, while trying one hundred percent to maintain that quality of life for our residents,” says Summerfield.
City restrictions capped the number of large-scale hotels at eight. City leaders say the one approved for Spring Street last week will be the last of its size approved on the Charleston Peninsula.