Beaufort to Get New Condos and Commercial Space


Jul 12, 2008

By Brandon Honig – Beaufort Gazette

Only one structure in the three-building commercial and residential development near downtown Beaufort’s most visible corner will comprise three stories, down from original plans for all three to reach three stories.

Bill Jones of Hilton Head Island-based Bill Jones Realty received approval from the city’s Historic District Review Board in November 2005 to build a three-story building near the corner of Bay and Carteret streets and to add third stories to the former BB&T building and the former Horne Automotive building, which also are on that site. The development was designed to hold about 20 condominiums and 14,000 square feet of commercial space.

Last year, however, Jones abandoned plans to add a third floor to the BB&T building, and Wednesday the review board approved plans to demolish the automotive building and replace it with a similar two-story structure instead of restoring the building and adding a third floor.

“Building those two third floors would have been a great project, but economically and safety-wise, it just didn’t make sense,” Jones said. “This also reduces the mass, which probably creates some satisfaction with people in the Historic District.”

Plans for the three-story buildings generated fervent protests from some residents when the designs were presented in 2005.

Jones said he wanted to save the Horne Automotive building, which Historic Beaufort Foundation spokeswoman Maxine Lutz said was built in 1919, but the building is unsafe, and repairing it is not an option, structural engineer John Kern of Savannah-based Kern-Coleman & Co. told the review board Wednesday.

“(Renovation) is not viable; it’s not a safe or prudent idea,” he said. “It’s scary to walk through this structure.”



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