Home News Charleston’s long-envisioned Magnolia project inks deal with Atlanta developer | Real Estate

Charleston’s long-envisioned Magnolia project inks deal with Atlanta developer | Real Estate

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The long-conceived Magnolia Projects have landed a development partner who plans to begin construction along the Ashley River waterfront by early 2024.

Houston-based Highland Resources, the owner and developer of the 189-acre business, has signed a joint venture partnership agreement with Portman Holdings of Atlanta for a 20-year redevelopment site.

They plan to spend more than $ 2 billion to transform the once polluted industrial land between Interstate 26 and the river into a mixed residential, office, hotel, and retail space neighborhood.

“For us, this is an ideal project with an ideal partner,” said Amblish by Shiwara, Chairman and CEO of Portman.

He called the planned development Charleston’s “game changer.”

Clark Davis (left) from Highland Resources and Amblish by Shiwara from Portman Holdings in Atlanta stand on an observatory overlooking the Magnolia Development Project near the Ashley River (background) on the Upper Peninsula of Charleston. The two companies will jointly develop 189 acres of land that was once industrially polluted.Henry Taylor / Staff

Highland CEO Clark Davis said his company has invested considerable time and money in the project and wants to make sure new investors share the same vision.

“We have found the right partners. They spend a lot of time, effort and money trying to speed up,” says Davis.

The scope of a large project that allows thousands of residents to return home someday has not changed, but the first development area is on Heliot Street at the end of what was called the “Bridge to Where”. It’s no longer nearby. A phrase frowned upon by the developer.


Instead, they are now initially focused on developing the land closest to the Ashley River.

“I want to make a destination,” said Baishiwara. “You want to start with your strengths, and it’s the waterfront.”

The first phase, which is expected to cost between $ 500 million and $ 700 million, will include several homes near hotels and rivers, offices and other residential units heading inward, shops and restaurants. It is scattered.

The idea is to take Charleston residents and tourists to the waterfront for accommodation, dining and shopping. This will facilitate the development of the remaining properties at various stages over the next 15-20 years.

The project has to go through a design and permit process because the new plan has not been presented to the city and the site plan has changed.

Developers expect about seven buildings to begin to rise in about 18 months or so. A marina with 25 to 30 slips is also planned. Paved roads will be added after the first phase of construction is completed. This is a measure to prevent large vehicles from destroying the road.

The tenants aren’t lined up, but the project is getting a lot of attention, said Jonathan Scott, a spokesman for Magnolia.

“It’s too early,” said Baishiwara.

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Located on the Upper Peninsula of Charleston, the site is approved for 4,080 residential units, 1.05 million square feet of office space, 200,000 square feet of retail space, and 1,040 hotel rooms.

When fully constructed, Magnolia will add more than 10,000 inhabitants to Charleston, already the largest city in South Carolina. This is about the same number of new residents as the combined current population of Hollywood and the Island of Palms.

Magnolia Master Plan 2022

The 189-acre Magnolia project on Charleston’s Upper Peninsula, between the Ashley River on the left and Interstate 26 on the upper right, will develop hotels, homes, offices, retail stores, and restaurants near the waterfront in the first phase. included.Rendering / Portman Holdings / Highland Resources / Provided

The two companies will jointly develop Magnolia and will continue to co-own and operate the Charleston Neck Area Project after the site is fully developed.

Founded in 1957, Portman, a land development, investment and management company, has developed more than 60 million square feet of real estate worldwide, with a focus on hospitality, offices and multipurpose facilities.

“We are very familiar with the Charleston market and its steady growth over the last few decades,” said Baishiwara. “I think Charleston is a great place to put a lot of time and resources into it. I promise to see it until and far beyond this project.”


According to Davis, the parties began talks last July, and Highland chose Portman after months of searching for a suitable partner to successfully develop a large-scale project.

“Since we completed the physical remediation of the site in 2021, we knew that the next step was to find the right fit with the right partner,” Davis said. “We are horizontal developers and Portman is a vertical developer. But beyond that, Portman has a solid track record of building and managing multipurpose projects as vast as Magnolia around the world. there is.”

Magnolia Development Ashley River Boat.JPG (copy)

A boat cruises the Ashley River on June 9 near the planned waterfront development of the 189-acre Magnolia Projects on the Upper Peninsula of Charleston.Henry Taylor / Staff

The current focus is on the waterfront, but long-term projects include recreational facilities as well as workforce and affordable housing. Building heights range from the 3rd to the 9th floor, with the tallest buildings concentrated in the middle of development.

Mostly wetlands, the site features 81 acres of developable land. A minimum of 24 acres are reserved for public parks, and nearly 49 acres of wetlands are protected. Roads and infrastructure occupy the remaining space.

Most of the open space available runs along the waterfront and extends into swamps, creating a contiguous park containing at least two public access points. The plan also includes nearby green spaces, parks, squares and public squares.

Waterfront development will cost $ 8 million to access Heliot Road through Milford and Braswell Roads and a 1,400-foot-long span of wetlands built in 2010. “Bridge to Nowhere” is open to pedestrians but closed to vehicle traffic.

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When Magnolia is fully developed, both companies will continue to own and operate the assets.

“This is a’buy and hold’, not a’buy and flip’,” Davis said. “This is a generational type of asset for both Portman and Highland.”

One tenant remains on the site. Parker Marine is on the waterfront, but you can stay on site until development begins.

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