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More retail space and hundreds of apartments may soon be coming to the heart of downtown Charleston after the Charleston Board of Architectural Review gave conceptual approval to a proposed mixed-use building.

The building, which could bring around 10,000 square feet of retail and 200 apartments, is part of the planned five-building Courier Square development across from the old Post and Courier headquarters on King Street near Line Street.

Christian Sottile, the lead architect for this building, which is one of several, said it has been in the works for around a decade.

“It will have retail at the street front,” Sottile said. “It will have residential uses above the storefront, and those residential uses will front onto King Street. Some of them will front onto some small gardens and alleys that are within the middle of the block.”

As part of the land’s zoning, the building must either keep 20% of its apartments affordable or pay a comparable fee into the city’s affordable housing fund each year.

Sottile said the structure’s design was created with input from the community through workshops and inspired by King Street’s storefronts.

“It’s not just a presentation of an idea, but we’re actually here working,” Sottile said, “so we draw and discard, test, refine, trying new avenues, so think of it as an open architecture studio.”

Historic Charleston Foundation Properties Manager Justin Schwebler said the inclusion of preservation groups and the community is rare in architecture.

“Creating a sense of ownership that communities can be proud of in the city’s architecture is very important,” he said. “That’s why we value the historic buildings in our city because people feel that sense of ownership.”

Several neighbors said they are not surprised a mixed-use building is planned for the lot, which is currently used as parking.

Schwebler said Charleston is trying to recapture the density it had in the early 20th century.

“It will be important to look for ways that we can increase density and increase livability in our community without necessarily having to create massive apartment buildings like this,” Schwebler said, “but if we’re going to live with large-scale apartment buildings and mixed-use facilities like this, I think this has been a successful project.”

Sottile said they will take the rest of the year to go through two more reviews from the city.

They hope to break ground sometime next year, but a final construction cost has not been announced.

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