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Contact: Erin Dhand, Manager, Corporate Communications and Community Affairs
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Three Firms Submit Proposals for Charleston Cruise Terminal Design

Charleston, SC - Charleston is closer to a new cruise terminal on the northern end of Union Pier Terminal. Three nationally-recognized teams submitted proposals for the design of the new terminal, which is scheduled for completion in 2012.

All three firms have successfully converted existing marine cargo structures into modern cruise facilities and have partnered with local architects. Firms responding to the request for proposals were:

Design work is expected to begin in March, after a team is selected and approved by the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA) Board. Construction could begin this year, with a targeted opening date by the third quarter of 2012.

“We’re pleased to have such qualified and accomplished firms proposing to work on this project,” said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the SCSPA. “Renovating an existing structure as our new cruise terminal will greatly improve the cruise experience in Charleston, while also complementing the character of Charleston. The cruise business is a significant economic force for both the maritime and tourism industries in South Carolina,” said Newsome.

Charleston’s new cruise terminal will be located farther north on the SCSPA’s Union Pier property within an existing structure. It will replace the current cruise terminal that opened in 1973.

Shifting the cruise operation north is a key element of the Union Pier Concept Plan, which was developed with significant public involvement ( Moving the cruise operation will also shift cargo operations off Union Pier, freeing up more than 35 acres for world-class redevelopment and providing unparalleled public access to the waterfront.

The cruise terminal design project covers all architectural and engineering plans, contract documents, costs and schedules necessary to convert the existing building into a cruise passenger terminal. The project will include the terminal building, parking, security, berth, baggage handling and other amenities necessary to efficiently handle one cruise vessel at a time.

Funds are in hand to renovate the building and deliver the new terminal. In December, the SCSPA issued $170 million in new revenue bonds to fund several major projects, including the cruise facility.

The cruise business in the Charleston area supported more than 400 jobs and $37 million in total economic output in 2010, including $16 million in wages and $3.5 million in tax revenues. The Port of Charleston is expected to handle 90 cruise ships in 2011.