[image-1]If you were thinking it had been too long since the future of Sgt. Jasper was publicly debated, fret no more. Developers of the controversial project will return to the city’s Board of Architectural Review next week to seek preliminary approval of a new mixed-use development.

For anyone unfamiliar with the sordid history of Sgt. Jasper, the story now stretches back to the summer of 2014 when the 14-story apartment building was emptied to make way for new construction. A series of failed proposals for what should take the place of the unsightly tower were met with strong resistance from neighborhood residents and preservation groups concerned with the size of the development and what it meant for the future of the area.

Plans for the site were eventually rejected by the BAR — a move challenged by the Beach Company — and this is when the lawyers got involved. The lengthy legal battle between the City of Charleston and Sgt. Jasper developers the Beach Company culminated in numerous mediation meetings and appeals, after which both parties agreed to grant conceptual approval for the project plans. In return, the developer would set aside nearby land for the construction of a park.

Designs for a 336,000-square-foot mixed-use complex went before the BAR in September for the first of three required rounds of approval. Heading into the current review round with the BAR, the applicants were asked to provide more detailed renderings of the project and plans for all floor levels.

When presented to the BAR last year, the new plans for the Jasper site included a collection of buildings consisting of residential, retail, and office space. The development would stand 159-feet tall at its highest point, and include 208 to 324 residential units. At that time, Architect Joe Antunovich was confident that his team would be able to provide floor plans and material samples when the developers return to the BAR for the second round of approval.

If you wish to participate in the next thrilling chapter of the Sgt. Jasper saga, the BAR will meet at 4:30 p.m. on Wed. Feb. 8 inside of the Gaillard Center at 2 George St.