Magnolia Project Back on Track for Charleston’s Neck

By Molly Parker , Staff Writer

Sporting a new title, Charleston developer Robert Clement is once again in charge of the Magnolia residential and commercial project slated for Charleston’s Neck area overlooking the Ashley River.

In early May, Clement was named CEO of Magnolia Development LLC on the heels of a terse City Council directive to the company to either fix communication problems with area neighborhood leaders or jeopardize the project’s progress.

Clement replaced Dan Proffitt, a real estate veteran brought in from Atlanta by Cherokee Investment Partners, Magnolia’s main financial backers.

In a sign that tensions have eased, the City Council voted Tuesday to reverse an earlier moratorium on any aspect of the project that would need the city’s approval.

“I would think we will go vertical in the next 18 to 24 months. I think we’re off and running now,” Clement said. Of his new title, he added, “It was more important to other people than it was to me, to be honest.”

Magnolia’s blueprint calls for up to 4,400 residential units and 1.3 million square feet of commercial space on 150 acres of highland.

By the end of the summer, the area will look markedly different, Clement said. The communication towers and fences that now dot the property soon will come down. Magnolia is also working to strike deals with about a dozen remaining industrial tenants to relocate them to other areas of the city.

Within three months, construction is expected to begin on a 1,400-foot bridge across the marsh that will provide direct access to Interstate 26, as well as on road improvements to nearby Hariot, Petty and Mechanic streets.

“Over the next six months there will be a noticeable change on the property as the rest of the tenants move off and we tear down the existing fences,” Clement said. “And you might even be able to see the river.”

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