The most noticeable change to Coleman Boulevard caused by the Urban Corridor Overlay District (UC-OD) is the increase in building heights and scale. Prior to 2006, building heights were limited to 35 feet for most of Coleman with the exception of a few properties, such as Moultrie Commons and Brookgreen Shopping Center, which had a height limit of 50 feet. In 2011, the UC-OD increased building heights on the majority of Coleman properties to 55 feet. Three of the largest and most visible properties on Coleman (Moultrie Commons, The Boulevard, and Sea Island Shopping Center) saw their height limit increased to 75 feet.
In addition, the devil is in the details when it comes to building height in the UD-OD. Not only did the allowable heights on Coleman see a big increase under the UC-OD, but the manner in which the building height is defined changed. Whereas the Mt. Pleasant zoning ordinance has always measured building height to the highest point on the roof (usually the ridge line), the UC-OD allows developers to measure height to the eave (where the bottom of the roof overhangs the top of the building’s wall) with no limit to how tall a building can be above the eave. Since buildings with pitched roofs typically have a ridge line 10 feet, 15 feet, or more above the eave, that means that buildings on Coleman in the 55-foot zones will actually be 65 to 70 feet tall, and the buildings in the 75-foot zones may end up being 90 feet high or higher as there is no maximum limit. And since the UC-OD code expressly allows rooftop bars and restaurants, the developer of Moultrie Commons and other Coleman properties are incentivized to build as high as possible to have harbor views above the treeline.
A building height reference created by the Post and Courier using The Boulevard development on Coleman Blvd. It is important to note that the 75-foot line is just the maximum eave height. The top of the roof at The Boulevard could have been built to 90 feet high and complied with the UC-OD ordinance. If the Sea Island and Moultrie Commons properties are built to the max height with pitched roofs, they would extend off the top of this picture.
That means new buildings on Coleman have the potential to be the tallest in Mount Pleasant. For reference, among the tallest existing buildings in Mt. Pleasant are The Renaissance condominiums at about 80 feet, the Motley-Rice building at 68 feet to the eave, and the Tides condominiums at 79 feet – all of which are far away from established neighborhoods and adjacent to the 575-foot tall Ravenel Bridge.
It’s also important to note that as out of scale as The Boulevard is with its surroundings, it is still 20 to 25 feet shorter than it could have been built under the UC-OD rules. Save for The Boulevard’s two corner features, most of it is four stories tall and about 55 feet high at the eave, which is the same height now allowed for almost all of Coleman Blvd. That means unless things change, much of Coleman Blvd. will be redeveloped at the same height as The Boulevard, or taller if those buildings have pitched roofs. From a scale perspective, The Boulevard is not an exception to the future of Coleman Blvd. – it could be the rule.
A building height figure from the CRAB master plan. The middle building with the pitched roof has a height of 70 feet and represents what can be built on all of Coleman Blvd. except for the Shem Creek area. The 75 foot building on the left represents what can be built on the Moultrie Commons and Sea Island Shopping Center properties. For some reason the building is drawn with a flat roof, but buildings could have pitched roofs and have heights greater than 90 feet.