Beaufort Today -

Panel wants simpler design for downtown Beaufort parking garage

  • Shellie Murdaugh/For Beaufort Today Members of the public attend a July 12 meeting at which the Beaufort Historic District Review Board reviewed plans for a downtown parking garage.
  • Shellie Murdaugh/For Beaufort Today Mike Richardson of Structured Parking Solutions reviews plans for the parking garage with Beaufort Historic District Review Board members.

Plans for a downtown Beaufort parking garage are going back to the architectural drawing board.

The project was sent back for revisions, including a simpler design, after it was evaluated last week by the city’s historic district review board.

Local business owner Dick Stewart has proposed the garage be built to accommodate employees and guests at the Beaufort Inn. There is potential for it to be used for public parking when it is not full.

The board approved plans for the size and scale of the garage in August. Under current plans, it would be four stories and cover 173,000 square feet. It would have 484 parking spaces and be located at 918 Craven St.

“We need to go back to the architectural drawing board and we are partially to blame,” board member Quinn Peitz said. “This project is so large and significant and is still evolving.”

At their July 12 meeting, board members said the design needs to be simpler.

The original plans call for the structure to look more like a row of buildings than a parking garage. Several people in the audience agreed that was not their preferred design.

“We decided it should look more like a parking garage,” Historic Beaufort Foundation executive director Maxine Lutz said. “We feel that it’s too broken up, too many facades, and it should look authentic.”

Fred Washington Jr., who grew up on North Street, said he agrees that a parking garage is needed. His primary concern is the color of the structure in relation to nearby buildings.

After hearing public comments, the board voted unanimously to ask developer 303 Associates for a simpler plan. Suggestions include room for green space on Craven Street, more open and secure stairways, landscaping and fewer materials and colors.

“Color is important and there should not be a great difference in the parking garage color and the buildings around it,” Washington said.

“I don’t want to see Beaufort become any other city. Consider the colors across the street and don’t lose so much of the history of Beaufort when designing the building.”

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