A New Approach to Lowcountry Expansion
With the national housing demand as high as it has been in the last couple of years due to large numbers of hopeful buyers and a limited number of houses on the market, home builders across the country have been purchasing land and investing in residential development. Charleston has been impacted by this trend as a new generation of home buyers are looking to purchase their first homes and as the Charleston population continues to grow. According to the Charleston county website, the Charleston region is currently growing by 33 residents each day.
Several multi-family residential projects are being constructed in the downtown area and a handful of residential projects in West Ashley, Mount Pleasant, and North Charleston. Where the real development is happening, is in the areas surrounding Charleston County. Areas like Hanahan, Summerville, Monks Corner, etc. are expanding at an incredible rate. Excited home builders hope to move projects along as quickly as permitting processes will allow and public jurisdictional reviewers are seeing an unprecedented amount of plan submissions.
As housing communities grow in the greater Charleston region, accommodations to neighboring roadways must be improved. Plans must include sufficient turn lanes to support the growing number of drivers passing in and out of the new communities. The impact of these additional residents, however, impacts more than just adjacent roadways. Traffic to and from the City of Charleston via I-26 during peak hours has become a growing issue with commuters often facing bumper-to-bumper conditions on the way to work, the beach, or downtown. Although I-26 is currently undergoing expansion and, as a result of COVID, more people than ever can work from home to avoid traffic, this is a persistent issue for those residing outside of the City of Charleston but working and living within city limits
One development effort in the Charleston region has decided to take a different approach to the residential boom happening in the Lowcountry. Rather than building off of the desirable Charleston metropolitan experience, Nexton is creating a new, separate experience. The up-and-coming community is providing housing in the Charleston region while creating a supporting commercial and recreational environment. With multi-use paths, pocket parks, walking trails, restaurants, shops, office spaces, schools, and more, residents moving into new homes or apartments will have the opportunity to walk, take a golf cart ride, or drive through the neighborhood to anywhere they might need or want to go.
In an increasingly urbanized country, the opportunity to develop a new, self-sufficient community is an exciting undertaking for a developer, designer, and resident. Creating and functioning in a more walkable and more localized lifestyle promotes both sustainability and a stronger sense of community in the area. These are two key components of the work that SeamonWhiteside is passionate about which has allowed for the long-lasting relationship SeamonWhiteside civil and landscape designers have had with this development. As new projects in the area are being designed for 2023 and 2024 construction, the Nexton development plans to continue growing alongside the Lowcountry population.
-Hannah Wilken, SeamonWhiteside Civil Engineering Project Coordinator