Keeping Tabs

The tick of the clock on New Year’s Eve ushers in 2024, and a reminder that I’m nearing a quarter century living in our fair city. It’s astounding to reflect on how much Charleston has changed in those almost 24 years. Back in 2000, I lived in Wagener Terrace, and my commute home took me up Morrison Drive well before the area received the unfortunate moniker “NoMo.” I often wondered why that stretch, so close to the Cooper River, remained rather blighted and industrial. Of course, I was fresh from the West Coast and just getting to know the lay of the land. Since that time, the tri-county population has increased by a whopping 49.3 percent, according to And today, much of Charleston’s industrial waterfront, from the port and stretching up toward the former naval shipyard, sits poised for redevelopment. 

For this first issue of the year, at a pivotal time in the city’s growth and evolution, we map out five projects, representing more than 600 acres on the Cooper and Ashley rivers, currently in the pipeline. For “On the Horizon,” freelance writer Jeff Wilkinson offers a look at Union Pier, Laurel Island, Magnolia, Navy Yard Charleston, and Battery Park—the land, its history, the players involved, the proposed plans (if any), and the status of each. (We skipped WestRock, the paper mill even further up the river that sold last year, as its future, for now, remains industrial.) 

These projects have been in the works for years, some for decades, and have seen fits and starts of various iterations. But as they have the potential to transform our area—for good or for ill—for generations to come, it’s important that residents keep tabs. If last summer’s outcry over the original plans for Union Pier is any indication—kudos to advocacy groups such as the Coastal Conservation League and Historic Charleston Foundation—we have some say in forging the city’s future. 

Happy New Year!

Darcy Shankland