The collection of roadways, parking areas and commercial sites at the intersection of Old Towne Road and Sam Rittenberg Boulevard is what we are calling the "Northbridge Gateway." The focal point of this area is the abandoned Piggly Wiggly grocery store, which was recently acquired by the City of Charleston for the purposes of creating a catalytic redevelopment effect, one that would beautify and unify the site and its surroundings.
About the Project
The Northbridge Piggly Wiggly site is a 2.5-acre parcel located at the intersection of Sam Rittenberg Boulevard and Old Towne Road on Sumar Street in the Northdbridge area of West Ashely. Piggly Wiggly closed this location in 2013, it was then acquired by the City of Charleston in 2017 with the structure being demolished in the spring of 2018. The adjacent roadways are owned by SCDOT and any future road infrastructure improvements will be coordinated by Charleston County and funded by half-cent sales tax revenue. The Northbridge Piggly Wiggly site and large surrounding area were identified in Plan West Ashley as focus areas for opportunities for change and improvements.
for a Civic Use
The Northbridge Gateway has been the subject of public discourse and a progression of design studies for decades, from the "Old Charles Towne District" master plan conducted in 2000, to the proposed gas station in 2016, and now as part of the Plan West Ashley process and resulting master plan.
During the course of Plan West Ashley, the Design Division studied the site for specifically-assigned civic uses: a park and a community building (shown above).
The constraint of having to use the property for solely a "civic" use was then removed when the the City and owner agreed to an outright land purchase. The City is now able to pursue a range of mixed-use and civic-oriented redevelopment programs to achieve the desired revitalization effect.
Plan West Ashley
Plan West Ashley consultants Dover-Kohl & Partners developed intersection studies and a conceptual master plan for the broader area. Their work shows an office building, parking garage and civic space on the old Piggly Wiggly site. The parking garage is lined with habitable building space along Old Towne Road and Sam Rittenberg Boulevard. Sumar street is retained and extended northward to connect with Orange Grove Road at Manchester Road. The main intersection is designed so that Old Towne Road "T's into" Sam Rittenberg Boulevard.
Center in Charleston
Most recently, the Design Division engaged the Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston (CACC) to study civic and mixed-use programs and configurations for the former Piggly Wiggly site. (See Post & Courier coverage here.) The CACC provided student, faculty and professional design thinking to this important project. Students worked collectively to identify constraints, programs and principles for the site and its surrounding context. Then they broke into teams to develop alternative design and development proposals for the old Piggly Wiggly site. This process has allowed enhanced and uninhibited design thinking during the adoption phase of Plan West Ashely, something very much needed for such a critical revitalization focal point. Find a summary document of their work here.