A rendering of what the area will look like when construction is complete | Courtesy Lowe

It won’t be long before people have a new way to walk along the water in Charleston. Waterfront Park along the Cooper River soon will gain ground — 400 feet to be exact — thanks to a partnership between the city and Lowe, a private real estate company.  

The new park area will be between the new Cooper Hotel, which is under construction on Concord Street, and the harbor. The walkway will begin at the north end of the current Joe Riley Waterfront Park and continue to the front of Fleet Landing Restaurant.   

Construction in front of new hotel | Photo by Kathy Waldron

The new hotel, being developed by Lowe on the site of the old S.C. State Ports Authority headquarters, will have more than 200 rooms and has been under construction for months. The din and pounding is irritating to some, but provides a construction sideshow to others. 

Kids and adults look through the holes poked in the black barrier around the site as workers drill away on the upper floors. But the concept of a public park between the hotel and the water gets good reviews. 

Fleet Landing Restaurant is right next door and on a recent rainy day at the entrance, locals and tourists said they liked the idea. 

“I’m all about public spaces,” said Kyle Welch from Denver. “If the building blocks the view, at least people can see the view from the park.” 

Amy Jeziorski from New Jersey was familiar with the Pineapple Fountain, but hadn’t heard about this new addition. 

“It sounds neat, easy way to get to the waterfront from the restaurants and hotels.” 

The Waterfront Park expansion will be less than a tenth of a mile — but Charleston City Park Director Jason Kronsberg said it is key.  

Photo by Kathy Waldron

“Any waterfront project should have public access along its frontage,” Kronsberg said. “The Lowe group understood that, so there was a wonderful public private partnership.”

The City of Charleston and Lowe were joint applicants on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit for the site. 

“The mayor’s office, including Mayor John Tecklenburg himself, also played an important role in the expansion,” said Dan Battista, executive vice president of Lowe. 

Battista declined to say when the hotel and the grounds would be complete and open to the public. 

But Kronsberg said people on the waterfront would be able to access the hotel from the park. 

“It will have wide pathways, a public area lighting, a pedestrian-scaled coarse gravel walkway, as well as some more formalized gardens which will step up towards the hotel itself in somewhat of a terraced fashion,” said Kronsberg. 

Like the original Waterfront Park, the Battery and White Point Gardens, the new 400-foot addition in front of a luxury hotel will be a place for all the people to experience.  

“I always say the parks are the common denominator,” Kronsberg said. “They’re owned by all, and it’s just a wonderful experience for people, young and old, to get out and stroll along the waterfront, experience those ocean breezes and smell the marsh and see the fish.”

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