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AC Repair in West Ashley, SC

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South Carolina is one of the most beautiful places in the United States to call home. However, our local weather can be extreme - high temps and thick humidity in the summer and chilly winter weather during cold months. As a local HVAC company in West Ashley, SC, we know how crucial it is to have a quality HVAC system in your home and experienced technicians to keep it working correctly.

With more than 35 years of serving the Lowcountry, we are proud to be an active part of our local community. As your neighbors, we are here for all of your HVAC needs, whether you need a new AC unit installed this summer or a heat pump replacement this winter. With a reliable team of NATE-certified technicians and decades of experience in our industry, no HVAC project is too big or small for us to handle.

We offer highly competitive pricing and convenient financing options for all of our clients. At the end of the day, our goal is to make it easy and affordable to live comfortably in your home all year long. We are committed to hard work, honesty, and integrity with every service we offer. If you aren't 100% satisfied with our work, we'll do our part to make it right.

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Here are just a few of the reasons why homeowners and business owners in South Carolina trust Action Heating & Air Conditioning:

  • We have been serving clients in South Carolina since 1983 - before many of our clients were even born!
  • We provide a wide range of HVAC services for both heating and air conditioning.
  • We are committed to giving our clients the highest quality products and services at affordable prices.
  • As a Carrier® Factory Authorized Dealer, we have the best HVAC units available.
  • We are members of the South Carolina Association of Heating and Air Conditioning Contractors.
  • We are members of our local Chamber of Commerce and the Air Conditioning Contractors of America.

If you need a trusted AC repair company in West Ashley, know that our team is geared up and ready to help you today. While you browse our website, have a look at just a few of our specialties here at Action Heating & Air Conditioning:

Air Conditioning Repair in West Ashley, SC

Summers in the Lowcountry are hot, humid, and sticky. After a long day at the beach or downtown with your friends, nothing feels better than kicking back on the sofa while your air conditioning cools you off. On the other hand, nothing feels worse than walking into your home and feeling warm, stale air hit your face. Those who know, know - having your AC go out during a South Carolina summer is no joke. With time, a relatively minor inconvenience can turn into a real health problem.

In situations like these, something has probably gone wrong with your HVAC system. If your AC has stopped working in the middle of summer, it's time to call Action Heating & Air Conditioning right away. Our team of certified HVAC professionals has years of experience repairing and servicing AC equipment. It doesn't matter how old your unit is or what brand you bought - we have the skills to get your home comfort system up and running in no time.

Heating And Air Conditioning West Ashley, SC
Here are just a few of the AC issues that our talented team can help solve for you:
 Heating And Air Conditioning Services West Ashley, SC

Air Conditioning Drainage Block

Over time, condensation builds up in your AC equipment because of its cooling process. This accumulated byproduct must be drained regularly, or the increased amounts of moisture can damage your air conditioner's components.

 AC Repair Services West Ashley, SC

Air Conditioning Refrigerant Leak

Refrigerant is the substance responsible for keeping your home nice and cool in the summer. When refrigerant levels drop due to a leak, it will affect your AC equipment's ability to cool your home. If your HVAC unit isn't blowing cold air, this could be a reason why.

 HVAC Repair Services West Ashley, SC

Heater Keeps Running

This is a common AC issue in South Carolina and the U.S. in general. Sometimes this problem is fixed by switching your thermostat to "auto." If that doesn't work, you may have a broken thermostat or a wiring issue that needs to be addressed quickly.

 Air Conditioning West Ashley, SC

Burning Odors

It's normal for your heater to produce a slight burning smell if it hasn't been used in a while. However, if you are experiencing a persistent burning smell during the summer months when your air conditioning is on, it could be a serious problem. Turn off your HVAC system immediately and call our office as soon as possible so that we may send out a technician to diagnose your problem.

 AC Repair West Ashley, SC

Broken Air Conditioning Compressor Fan

This fan plays an important role in your AC unit's heat transfer process. When your air conditioning fan breaks, your AC equipment won't be able to cool your home off in the summer when it's needed the most.

Our Special Offers

One of our goals as a company is to provide HVAC repair services at fair and competitive prices. In addition, we want you to feel confident about investing in high-quality heating and cooling systems without having to worry a lot about the costs. We make sure to provide honest and accurate quotes and we offer a variety of financing options. We want you to get the best bang for your buck, so here are some special offers.

See Our Offer

If you are experiencing any of the problems above, be sure to hire a professional contractor to fix your issues. For your safety, don't ever try to make HVAC repairs on your own unless you are trained. When the time come to have your air conditioning system repaired, our team of licensed AC technicians will handle all of the hard work on your behalf. That way, you can stay safe and have peace of mind knowing you're in good hands.

Air Conditioning Install in West Ashley, SC

Your HVAC system works hard all year long. If you have gone years without much maintenance or AC repair, you probably bought a great HVAC unit. However, with constant use and even normal wear and tear, even the highest-quality HVAC systems are prone to malfunctions. Eventually, it will need to be replaced.

If you need an energy-efficient, reliable cooling system for your home or business, you have come to the right place. We have decades of experience installing new AC systems for our clients and can handle any installation project you have. As a Carrier® Factory Authorized Dealer, we have the most top-rated AC systems available in South Carolina.

At Action Heating & Air Conditioning, we know that buying a new air conditioner and installing it can be a huge source of stress. But when you work with us, it doesn't have to be that way. We have made it our mission to make the AC installation process easy and efficient for our customers. That way, they can focus more on living life and enjoying their home while we work hard on their AC install in West Ashley.

Whether you plan to replace a faulty air conditioning system or need a Carrier unit for your new construction home, we have got you covered. We will work with you directly to find the best fit for your home and budget. We are also happy to answer all of your AC installation questions prior to and during your initial service appointment.

 Heater Repair Services West Ashley, SC

Common Signs That You Need a New AC Install in West Ashley, SC

Trying to figure out whether your air conditioner needs to be repaired or replaced can be a tricky decision to make. Most people have a hard time letting things go, and that includes AC units. It can be hard to know when to let go of the old and welcome in the new. To help save you time and make your decision a little easier, keep the following signs in mind. If you find yourself saying, "that sounds like my AC unit," it might be time for a new air conditioning installation.

 HVAC Repair West Ashley, SC

Strange Noises

Almost all air conditioners make a bit of low-level noise as they warm up and turn off. However, if you hear loud, unusual noises, it might be a sign that your air conditioner's time is coming to an end. Buzzing and rattling noises are often indicators of a loose part. Grinding and whistling noises may mean something more serious is happening. Because these issues won't dissipate over time, it's crucial to have your air conditioner examined if you hear loud, strange noises.

Frequent Repairs

West Ashley AC repair is essential for keeping your air conditioner working efficiently. Sometimes, however, it makes more sense from a cost perspective to install a replacement system. This is especially true if your repairs are racking up. Some AC experts suggest using the "$5,000 rule" if you're considering a new AC install. Simply multiply the age of your air conditioner by the costs you have been paying to repair your unit. If that amount is over $5,000, it may make more financial sense to install a new air conditioner rather than pay for expensive repairs throughout the year.

Higher Energy Bills

If you notice that your energy bill has significantly increased in price, it could be a sign that your HVAC unit is struggling to cool your home effectively. Try to be mindful of your air conditioner's cooling cycles. If you notice frequent cycles, even in the summer, it could be the reason for your increased energy bill. In these cases, it's best to have an expert test your system to see if a repair or replacement option is best for your family.

Age of Air Conditioning Unit

This sign is a no-brainer and one of the easiest ways to tell if you need to install a new AC system. On average, your HVAC unit will have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years. If your unit is more than ten years old and doesn't have the "pizzaz" that it once had, it might be time to think about installing a new air conditioning unit.

R-22 Refrigerant

Old air conditioners usually require a type of refrigerant called R-22. This substance is very harmful to the environment and has been all but outlawed on newer HVAC systems. If your AC unit is old enough to require R-22, you should give serious thought to replacing your system with a newer, environmentally friendly solution.

Call Action Heating & Air Conditioning Today!

Over our 35+ year history, we have built our reputation on honesty, skilled workmanship, and reasonable pricing. If you are on the hunt for the highest quality air conditioning repair in West Ashley, SC, give our office a call today.

Call us at 843-875-2993

Protecting Your Investment

Your air conditioning system works very hard every day, all year long to keep your home comfy and cool. Machines that work hard year-round are going to require maintenance and ongoing services to stay operational.

As a family-owned and operated HVAC company in West Ashley, SC, we know better than anyone how expensive it can be to maintain an AC unit. We know that money doesn't grow on trees. We also understand that finding last-minute resources to fix an air conditioning system can be challenging. That is why we offer extended warranties for your new or existing AC equipment. With an extended warranty from Action Heating & Air Conditioning, you benefit from repairs, replacement, and additional services covered under warranty. That way, you can enjoy your HVAC products as long as possible.

 Heating And AC Services West Ashley, SC
If you're having second thoughts about purchasing an extended warranty, consider these points:
  • Generally speaking, HVAC equipment lasts anywhere from 10 to 15 years. However, warranties provided by the factory will often expire before the service life of your cooling unit is over. With an extended warranty, your indoor comfort system is covered even if the factory warranty expires.
  • Having an extended warranty on your AC system gives you the chance to project and plan for any HVAC costs. This helps you balance your budget and anticipate expenses so you aren't caught off guard. Having a warranty will also help protect your budget against increases in labor and parts costs due to inflation.
  • If you're thinking of selling your home, having an extended warranty may help raise your home's value. You may also be able to transfer your extended warranty to your new home if you choose to do so.

Latest News in West Ashley, SC

Charleston inks construction contract for West Ashley pedestrian bridge

After some last-minute funding maneuvers, Charleston approved the terms of a construction contract for a long-awaited bike and pedestrian bridge connecting downtown and West Ashley.It now awaits federal approval before the mayor can sign off on it and work can begin.As construction firms submitted proposals for the project this summer, local leaders became aware that their most recent ...

After some last-minute funding maneuvers, Charleston approved the terms of a construction contract for a long-awaited bike and pedestrian bridge connecting downtown and West Ashley.

It now awaits federal approval before the mayor can sign off on it and work can begin.

As construction firms submitted proposals for the project this summer, local leaders became aware that their most recent cost projections were insufficient.

That’s when the estimate ballooned from $42 million about a year ago to about $74 million today. As a result, city officials had to secure more funding from county, state and federal agencies. In addition to dipping into the city’s hospitality tax funds, the Medical University of South Carolina chipped in too.

In total, the city’s contribution to the project via hospitality tax funds stands at $13 million.

Construction bidders attributed the higher-than-expected cost projections to rising interest rates, as well as increased labor and material costs. The winning bid came in at $73.8 million.

City leaders had considered scaling the project back when the new estimates were calculated but Councilman Mike Seekings said South Carolina Transportation Secretary Christy Hall was determined to find additional help from all levels of government to bring the project across the finish line.

“Secretary Hall put her money where her mouth is,” he said.

With Hall’s help securing an additional $30 million committed from various agencies, the city was able to move forward with a contract with civil contractor, Superior Construction.

Charleston City Council voted 11-1 on Sept. 26 to authorize the mayor to sign off on the contract once it gets approval from the Federal Highway Administration. Councilwoman Caroline Parker voted against the authorization and Councilman William Dudley Gregorie was absent.

If all goes according to plans, the contract will be signed within the next few weeks and design work can begin. Signing the contract locks down a “guaranteed maximum price” from the contractor, which can only fluctuate within a certain percentage of the total project cost. Any additional overrun would need special approval from City Council.

Design is expected to take about one year and construction about three years, said Jason Kronsberg, Charleston parks director and the project manager for the effort.

There should only be minor disruptions to road and boat traffic during construction, he added. It will tie into the existing West Ashley Greenway and cross the Ashley just south of the U.S. Highway 17 vehicular bridges.

Despite the cost estimate struggles, city leaders struck an optimistic tone saying that the project will be transformative for the city.


“It’s a game changer,” Kronsberg said. “Its a significant infrastructure project that will be just as successful as the Ravenel Bridge bike and pedestrian lane when it was first implemented ... If you build it, they will come.”

Councilman Peter Shahid, who is running for mayor, said the project is not only a recreational amenity but also an important piece of the city’s transportation network. It will provide commuters who travel on foot or ride bikes a safe crossing to the city’s employment hub and also could relieve some traffic on the existing vehicular bridges in the same area.

West Ashley homeowner embraced native planting. Charleston County threatened to fine him.

Just a few turns off Savannah Highway, as the car dealerships and fast-food joints give way to expansive views of saltwater and marsh, a one-story home is nestled among a thicket of wildlife.Four massive live oak trees anchor the lawn. Bird feeders dangle from the heavy branches. A gravel path snakes its way through nearly 100 species of flowering plants, trees, grasses, shrubs and more. Bees, butterflies and other animals flap and crawl, happy to call this place home.Elliotte Quinn has created an oasis in his front yard....

Just a few turns off Savannah Highway, as the car dealerships and fast-food joints give way to expansive views of saltwater and marsh, a one-story home is nestled among a thicket of wildlife.

Four massive live oak trees anchor the lawn. Bird feeders dangle from the heavy branches. A gravel path snakes its way through nearly 100 species of flowering plants, trees, grasses, shrubs and more. Bees, butterflies and other animals flap and crawl, happy to call this place home.

Elliotte Quinn has created an oasis in his front yard.

Quinn, who moved with his family to Edgewater Park three years ago, is part of a growing number of property owners choosing to embrace native planting. The technique uses specific plant species to attract native pollinators, ultimately creating a balanced food web.

Proponents argue native plants help battle erosion, reduce air pollution and promote biodiversity. Pesticides and lawn mowers are no longer needed as the ecosystem begins to keep itself in check.

Native yards vastly differ depending on the gardener. But they almost never fit the mold of a traditional American lawn — grassy and weedless, with a few evergreen bushes framing the front, said David Manger, owner of Roots and Shoots, a native plant nursery in West Ashley.

A native yard, particularly to the untrained eye, can look wild and unkempt, Manger said. Some property owners find themselves fighting community associations, disapproving neighbors or government ordinances to keep their chosen aesthetic.

Quinn can attest. The father of three, who works during the day as a lawyer specializing in construction defects, has received two complaints in under a year from Charleston County’s zoning and planning department.

Code enforcement officers told him the front yard violated an ordinance concerning weeds and rank vegetation. The most recent complaint — a June 7 letter shared with The Post and Courier — threatened a summons and hefty fine if he didn’t get rid of the “overgrowth.”

Both times, after Quinn explained his choice to cultivate the yard with native plants, county officials dropped the case.


‘Quinn’s Meadow’

Quinn’s passion for native planting exploded during summer 2020, in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic. He started a vegetable garden with his young daughters, spurred by a childhood interest in wildlife and conservation.

They grew tomatoes and pumpkins, but worms began destroying the plants. Not wanting to spray the garden with pesticides, Quinn began reading about natural alternatives. He learned what he could plant to attract predator insects.

“That kind of spiraled off into something of an obsession with native plants,” he said.

Quinn ripped up the grass in his front yard, tossed out some seeds and bedded a few plants. He eventually hired someone to turn over the topsoil, put down compost and create gravel walkways.

The garden — which his daughters affectionately call “Quinn’s Meadow” — grew from there.

Green is the dominant color across the yard. But if a visitor sat on the front porch swing where Quinn likes to spend early mornings, they’d notice pockets of flowers interspersed with grass and fruit trees. They might hear the chirp of a painted bunting, delighting in its feathery rainbow of reds, blues and greens.

Manger, who used to lead the Charleston Permaculture Guild, said the number of people committing to sustainable agriculture has increased over the years. He’s noticed property owners beginning to steer away from typical yard spaces.

Edgewater Park, where Quinn lives, doesn’t have a homeowners association. But Manger said more people are coming to Roots and Shoots for advice on how to use native plants and work around stringent rules.

A compromise, for instance, could be to cover half of the yard with native plants and leave a small mowing strip of grass at the front, Manger said. This signals to neighbors the garden is both maintained and intentionally designed.

A fine line

Quinn first received an email from Charleston County in September 2022, he said. A code enforcement officer told him they’d gotten a complaint about his yard and wanted to talk.

By the time they spoke on the phone, the officer had driven by the property and realized the design was intentional — not the result of a lazy homeowner. The officer closed out the complaint.

Months later, on June 7, county officials notified Quinn they’d received another complaint of vegetation overgrowth. An officer inspected the property and found him in violation of a county ordinance prohibiting uncultivated, dense overgrowth, the letter states.

The county gave Quinn until June 22 to remove it, threatening him with a summons and $1,087 fine. He responded with an eight-page letter explaining why his yard complies with the ordinance.

Quinn spends hours each month intentionally cultivating his garden — planting, weeding and watering new plants — he wrote. Many of the native plants are considered priority species by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. Prohibiting a property owner from growing them would conflict with state environmental and resource protection statutes, Quinn said.

County officials relented, deciding he hadn’t violated any ordinances. They closed the case.

SC Climate and Environment News

Quinn feels bothered by the whole situation but is grateful to have a legal background, he said. The homeowner wondered about others who might find themselves subject to similar scrutiny.

If a government went through with imposing a fine or issuing a summons for native planting, Quinn offered to represent them pro bono — to stand up for others who want to change how we do landscaping, he said.

A Charleston County spokeswoman refused to make anyone from its zoning and planning department available for an interview. The department takes all complaints seriously and investigates them, she said.

Manger hopes that as native planting becomes more common, code enforcement officers will have more tools in their arsenal to decipher a native lawn from an overgrown one.

“It’s definitely a fine line,” he said. “You’d kind of have to know what plants you’re looking at.”

Plenty of flowers and a general diversity of plant species are usually signs of a native yard, Manger said. But the best way to find out is by asking the gardener.

If you spoke to Quinn, he’d proudly show you his favorite flower: the swamp rose mallow. The native hibiscus, with big white petals and a dark-pink center, blooms only for a day.

If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a chimney bee pollinating the flower. This specialist insect primarily forages on hibiscus plants; Quinn knows he’d never see one if he had a traditional lawn.

Commentary: Charleston, West Ashley in particular, needs progress, not promises

My wife and I are raising our two boys in West Ashley. They play baseball and soccer at West Ashley and Ackerman Parks, First Tee at Shawdowmoss Golf & Country Club, and basketball at the Bees Landing Recreation Center. We ride our bikes and go for walks in our neighborhood of Carolina Bay. It’s where we shop, go out to eat and meet with friends. West Ashley is also where the current mayor has failed to lead time and time again over nearly eight years.The reality is that planned and consistent improvements, shared-use paths,...

My wife and I are raising our two boys in West Ashley. They play baseball and soccer at West Ashley and Ackerman Parks, First Tee at Shawdowmoss Golf & Country Club, and basketball at the Bees Landing Recreation Center. We ride our bikes and go for walks in our neighborhood of Carolina Bay. It’s where we shop, go out to eat and meet with friends. West Ashley is also where the current mayor has failed to lead time and time again over nearly eight years.

The reality is that planned and consistent improvements, shared-use paths, beautification, and integration of service and amenities in West Ashley has been slow, nonexistent in some areas and outright ignored in others. Put simply, the city has not consistently invested in improving the quality of life and capturing the vibrant spirit of the largest part of our beloved city.

This long overdue work is not right, fair nor equitable.

The Sumar Street redevelopment is a prime example. For that development, only one developer responded to the city’s request for a proposal. Going with one developer is not a good practice when dealing with public dollars for such a project.

That developer is seeking $100 for a 99-year lease and millions of dollars for the development’s parking needs, but putting $23 million toward an underground garage does not make that area prime for private sector investment.

Rather than complement the next door Ashley Landing redevelopment, the city chose to compete with it. The limited vision, planning and implementations continue because the mayor created a tie rather than vote in the majority in order to take meaningful action at the July City Council meeting.

The incumbent has moved too slowly to implement any of the recommendations from the Plan West Ashley document that the city spent $500,000 to produce. The West Ashley Project Coordinator has no budget, staff and authority to provide the needed services, engagement, and progress the largest part of our city has lacked.

A plan without the right level of personnel and budget to implement its findings creates illusions, false hope and frustrations. We can change this. The largest part of the city can’t be without the staff and resources to service residents and businesses.

Imagine what we can do for West Ashley and other parts of our city that have been left behind if we apply for more of the millions of available federal funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act. We have an opportunity to secure such funds, and I will make it a top priority to pursue this funding and bring such resources to our city.

My experience and current work at the local, state, and federal levels of government uniquely puts us in the best position to accomplish this.

We can stop imagining better gateways to West Ashley, better drainage, better roads and streets, sidewalks, safe bike lanes, connectivity, façade improvements, gathering spots and so much more — and start living it. We need a workhorse to get this done.

If you are happy with the level of leadership and service you have received over the past eight years, I’m not your person. However, if you want more and expect more from your mayor and city, I have something tangible to offer.

Clay Middleton is a native Charlestonian who is running for mayor. A Citadel graduate, he serves as a lieutenant colonel in the S.C. Army National Guard. He previously served as director of Business Services for the city of Charleston, where he led the Business & Neighborhood Services division. He also has served in the Obama administration and as a longtime aide to U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn.

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Homebuilder plans 800 new houses in Charleston development

Several hundred new homes are in the works on the edge of Charleston.In two recent submittals to the city, Mun...

Several hundred new homes are in the works on the edge of Charleston.

In two recent submittals to the city, Mungo Homes plans to build more than 800 homes in the 3,000-acre Long Savannah development in West Ashley.

The Irmo-based builder recently submitted plans for 568 houses on 156 acres on Bear Swamp Road off Bees Ferry Road.

The proposal comes after the builder submitted plans earlier this year to build 237 homes on about 56 acres at the end of Barons Drive.

A representative of Mungo Homes did not immediately respond for comment.

Developers have rights to build 4,500 homes in total on the property on the edge of Charleston and Dorchester counties.

In 2021, builders and environmental groups settled a challenge to the development to avoid some wetlands destruction and allow for natural water flow by removing older roadbeds used years ago for logging and phosphate mining.

The project also includes conserved green space, and a $250,000 donation by developers to a trust to fund water-management projects in the three drainage basins that the development covers.

More multifamily

A new apartment development is in the works for Johns Island.

Ninety affordable multifamily housing units are slated for 9.35 acres at 1725 River Road next to the entrance to Fenwick Hall Plantation, according to plans presented to the city of Charleston.

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The property is owned by the city, which paid $3.3 million for it in 2020.

Storing stuff

A Mount Pleasant-based real estate investment company recently acquired two self-storage properties in the Southeast.

Ziff Real Estate Partners bought a 44,875-square-foot climate-controlled facility in Anderson. The site, previously called Pearman Dairy Self Storage, will be called StoreEase.

Real Estate

The company also purchased a ground-up development tract in Summerfield, Fla., near The Villages master-planned community. When completed, the storage site will be 77,625 square feet with both climate- and non-climate-controlled units. It, too, will be a StoreEase facility.

Finding a home

The Mount Pleasant Chamber of Commerce now has a physical office for the first time.

The pro-business group has partnered with Pinnacle Financial Partners to lease a 2,000-square-foot space that’s designed to grow staff, hold meetings and have some events at 534 Johnnie Dodds Blvd.

Boom & Balance

Chamber president Jennifer Maxwell said the organization has aspired to have a physical presence in the town for several years.

“This is crucial as part of our plan to continue to grow and support the businesses and community East of the Cooper,” she said.

Hicks: West Ashley demands better than another cut-rate development

Some members of Charleston City Council squealed when they saw the price for reviving a dead pig.And apparently they aren’t hog wild about any of the other options, either.That leaves the fate of West Ashley’s Sumar Street redevelopment plan murky for another week, and that’s too bad. Because this is more important than some folks realize.You see, the trajectory of revitalization in the biggest area of Charleston hinges on this decision. Not that you’d know it from council’s response....

Some members of Charleston City Council squealed when they saw the price for reviving a dead pig.

And apparently they aren’t hog wild about any of the other options, either.

That leaves the fate of West Ashley’s Sumar Street redevelopment plan murky for another week, and that’s too bad. Because this is more important than some folks realize.

You see, the trajectory of revitalization in the biggest area of Charleston hinges on this decision. Not that you’d know it from council’s response.


Back in April, several council members said $45 million was way too much to spend on a redevelopment of the three-acre site of that old Piggly Wiggly off Sam Rittenberg Boulevard.

Which is kind of on-brand for the city’s historical treatment of West Ashley.

A little background: The city bought the site of the former grocery store years ago, at the demand of local residents, to keep it from becoming a convenience store. People who live in the area argued that the property, as the gateway to the city’s largest population hub, deserved something more substantial.

So the city contracted with a developer who came up with a design for West Ashley’s first significant municipal services building, along with neighborhood meeting space, a public park and some room for small businesses and restaurants.

Which, not coincidentally, is exactly what surveys showed West Ashley residents want there.

So that’s what architects designed … along with underground parking to make the most of a tight space. But evidently that seemed too extravagant for a part of town that doesn’t even rate a Logan’s or Bonefish Grill.

Council members demanded the developer give them some more, uh, cost-effective options.

Well, a City Council committee saw the cheaper options on Monday … and didn’t have much to say. Probably because they also saw how public opinion is running on this.

At a packed-house public meeting last week, residents were given three choices. 1) The current design. 2) The same development, only smaller, with a multistory parking deck that might save $8 million to $9 million … but unsurprisingly eats up much of the open space. 3) A development with about one-third the building space and a huge surface parking lot.

The results were telling: 72% voted to stick with the underground parking. Charles Smith, a member of the West Ashley Revitalization Commission since its inception, says there’s a reason for so much community unanimity these days.


“We have accepted less than the best for long enough,” Smith says. “This is a gateway project that sets the bar for everything that comes after it.”

He’s right, and here’s an example. Right now, the owner of Ashley Landing Shopping Center — which sits next to the Sumar Street site — is planning to move its Publix into the strip center across the parking lot and replace the grocery store with apartments.

Residents rightly worry about the developer getting all that right for the neighborhood. The city, Smith says, needs to set the example.

“How can we ask that developer to bring their A-game to that site if we’re not willing to bring our A-game next door?”

Yep. And all this will have a cascading effect down Sam Rittenberg Boulevard and along Savannah Highway. Smith notes the West Ashley Revitalization Commission understands the area is destined for more urban-level density, but would like to keep it in the areas currently covered in old, needing-to-be-replaced strip malls.

You know, instead of building them farther out and adding to everyone’s commute.

But some folks on council, which never blinks at spending twice as much on grout for the Italian marble at the Gaillard, are trying to be cheap here.

And it all seems to revolve around the difference in cost for underground parking versus a parking garage. But it’s not that big a deal.

The city’s portion of this redevelopment would be paid for with parking revenue and tax-increment financing — the same model considered for the infrastructure at Union Pier’s redevelopment. Can you imagine asking downtown residents to accept a cheaper alternative?

“You’d get laughed out of the room,” Smith notes.

Well, Charleston’s biggest population center deserves no less.

The council’s Committee on Real Estate heard the options on Monday, but didn’t recommend one plan over another. The usually plain-spoken council members didn’t really say much of anything that suggested how they feel about this latest development. What’s that mean?

Well, it means the showdown at next week’s City Council meeting could go any number of ways.

But you can bet if they send the developer back to the drawing board, literally, it will only bolster the perception that Charleston’s biggest community is considered its least important.

And that’s why we can’t have nice things.


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