Planner Faces 'Withering Criticism' on Revitalization Plan

City planners in Charleston, SC would like to see some local malls redeveloped as mini-downtowns, filling in their parking lots with buildings, but local developers think they're insane. 'This really horrifies me,' says one business person.

"(City planners) said the code would help create beautiful places full of life in the suburbs, but 40 or so commercial real estate owners representing properties that would be subject to the city's proposed rules didn't see it that way.

'This really horrifies me,' said Jerry Garfinkle, representing Cisco's Cafe and Sunfire Grill in West Ashley. 'If I build 20 apartments above a restaurant, I think you'd have 20 empty apartments.'

Morgan's presentation repeatedly used the Big Kmart on Savannah Highway as an example of what the city wants to discourage, repeatedly showing a photograph of the store's vast and mostly empty parking lot.

Steven Anastasion, owner of the site, was not amused. 'This (plan) is great, if you can create a whole new city from scratch,' he said. 'We're in the real world.'

Full Story: Planners' dream draws fire; Could big shopping centers become mini-downtowns?

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