Charleston’s new cruise terminal advanced through additional public input Wednesday, as the City’s Board of Architectural Review (BAR) voted unanimously to grant conceptual approval to the project’s design. 

After a presentation by the South Carolina Ports Authority’s (SCPA) design team, the BAR approved the design plan, which is the conversion of an existing cargo-handling building into a functional and attractive passenger terminal. The SCPA voluntarily submitted the design to the architectural review process.

“We appreciate the BAR’s consideration and input on this project, which begins the tremendous opportunity to redevelop Union Pier,” said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority. “Our team has developed a plan that we are extremely proud of, and the community’s support was reflected in the letters submitted and attendance at the meeting.”

At the BAR meeting, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley spoke in support of the terminal, stating, “This building will be a beautiful part of a new public realm.”

By incorporating public input and design influences from Charleston’s maritime heritage and architectural elements, the design fits contextually with its surroundings and knits the area into the city by removing the chain link fence that surrounds the property.

More detailed design plans will be presented at a future BAR meeting. Conversion of the existing building is expected to begin later this year, with the new cruise terminal scheduled to open in early 2013.