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176 Concord Street, P.O. Box 22287, Charleston, SC 29413-2287
Contact: Erin Dhand, Manager, Corporate Communications and Community Affairs
Telephone: 843-577-8121 • Fax: 843-577-8127 • e-mail:


Planner Selected for Charleston Passenger Terminal

Charleston, SC - The South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA) has selected an urban design firm to update the Master Plan for nine acres in downtown Charleston, including the Port of Charleston Passenger Terminal.

At its monthly meeting today in Charleston, the SCSPA Board approved a recommendation to engage Cooper, Robertson & Partners.

Cooper Robertson will help guide the update of a portion of the 1996 Union Pier Conceptual Master Plan. This update will serve as a basis for the redevelopment of the Passenger Terminal and surrounding area.

Key elements and considerations of the planning effort will include a public involvement process, zoning recommendations, permitting issues, land uses, traffic management, construction costs, market analysis and financial viability.

The SCSPA and the City of Charleston are working collaboratively on the plan to upgrade the Passenger Terminal to more effectively meet new security requirements, as well as to better serve the market needs of its cruise customers.

A joint selection group made up of representatives from the SCSPA and the City of Charleston evaluated proposals and recommended Cooper Robertson, a nationally recognized firm with experience working in the local community.

The work to update the plan is scheduled to be complete by early 2010 and is not to exceed $700,000. With the updated plan in hand, the SCSPA will seek development partners interested in portions or all of the nine acres.

The existing Passenger Terminal was built in 1971 and has served Charleston's cruise business well over the years. However, post-9/11 federal security requirements have introduced new facility requirements, while ship sizes have increased and passengers have greater expectations for cruise facilities.

Importantly, the project supports the SCSPA's core mission of developing new maritime business and provides jobs in the local community.

The South Carolina State Ports Authority, established by the state's General Assembly in 1942, owns and operates public seaport facilities in Charleston and Georgetown, handling international commerce valued at more than $62 billion annually and receiving no direct taxpayer subsidy. An economic development engine for the state, port operations facilitate 260,800 jobs across South Carolina and nearly $45 billion in economic activity each year.