Union Pier Concept PlanThe South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) today shared designs for the future home of the Charleston cruise industry, which brings jobs and $37 million a year to the local economy.
The detailed designs and renderings for both the inside and outside of the new $35-million cruise terminal reflect the extensive public feedback received during numerous public meetings.
“We have been working on this project for nearly two years, so presenting the concept design is an exciting step forward,” said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the SCPA.  “The feedback and support from the community were critical to developing a design that connects with Charleston’s heritage, provides a warm welcome to visitors and offers an attractive, more appropriate setting in Charleston.”
The relocation of the cruise terminal to the northern end of the property is the essential catalyst to realizing the Union Pier Concept Plan.
“Since the preliminary concept plans were presented in early June, we have worked with the design team to further reflect public feedback,” said Newsome.
Additional elements of the plan, driven by public input, focus on vehicle and pedestrian circulation, ensuring appropriate connection of the terminal to its surroundings and incorporating attractive maritime influences and other Charleston-inspired features into the interior and exterior design.
Specific elements of the design concept include:
Improving Vehicle & Pedestrian Circulation 
• New street network and circulation plan improves traffic flow, even on non-cruise days
• Re-opens Concord Street all the way through the site
• Ends the existing street closing on Concord and Washington streets
• Provides adjacent parking with appropriate lighting and attractive landscaping
• Improves public access to and through the site
• Adds sidewalks and familiar streetscapes along Washington, Laurens and Concord streets
Connecting Terminal with its Surroundings
• Removes more than 5,000 feet of chain link fence around the site
• Moves the drop-off area to the south side of the building to reduce impacts
• Employs extensive landscaping, familiar materials and streetscapes that look and feel like Charleston
• Removes up to 11 high-mast light poles – 80-feet tall – and replaces them with more appropriate human-scale lighting
The Building’s Design
• Removes 28,000 square feet of roof space to reduce the building’s mass
• Connects to Charleston’s heritage through history exhibits and maritime influences in design
• Features skylights that add interest and bring in natural light
• Uses sustainable building materials and practices
Charleston Mayor Joe Riley spoke to the collaboration between the City, the SCPA and the public.  He discussed how community support and involvement have resulted in a project that reflects not only Charleston’s heritage, but the surrounding community.
“Shifting the cruise terminal north on Union Pier will greatly mitigate the existing impacts of the cruise operation in a way that improves quality of life for Charleston,” said Mayor Riley.  “It is the key to opening the redevelopment of the southern portion of the property and will allow the city’s residents to realize all the benefits of the Union Pier Concept Plan.”
The full presentation can be viewed at www.UnionPierPlan.com.
Conversion of the building is slated to begin in fourth quarter 2011, with the new terminal facility opening in early 2013. Following that, the SCPA will turn attention to the redevelopment planning for rest of the Union Pier property.
Created with extensive public involvement, the Union Pier Concept Plan can be seen at www.UnionPierPlan.com, where public input can also be submitted.