The Dorchester Mixed-Use Project

Court Affirms Board of Architectural Review (BAR) Decision on Hotel Project

Summerville, SC. (September 24, 2015) - A First Judicial Circuit judge signed an order Thursday affirming the decision of Summerville’s BAR in approving The Dorchester project in downtown Summerville.

After reviewing details of the project and taking comments from the public, the BAR scaled back the overall size of the project from four stories to three and reduced the number of condominiums from 34 to 27. The modified design won the BAR approval with a 5-1 final vote on May 11, 2015.

The BAR issued an order finding the Dorchester Project as modified is “appropriate in terms of aesthetics, design, architecture, height, mass scale, proportion, arrangement, texture and material, and is compatible with the general character of its immediate neighborhood.” Plaintiffs’ appeal challenged the BAR decision on a variety of procedural and substantive grounds. The Judge rejected the appeal in its entirety and affirmed the decision of the BAR.

Project Information

The Dorchester Project is a multi-use project that will include a Town-owned conference/meeting space designed to accommodate up to 300 people and a parking garage which will be attached to a privately-owned 65-room boutique hotel and rooftop restaurant and bar. The project will also contain 27 condominium units. The meeting space is intended to appeal to those who are seeking to host weddings, anniversaries, and private business functions. 

The project is a revitalization project intended to increase walking traffic in the area and to enhance the downtown. No new taxes will be levied to pay for the project. The town will pay for its portion with a bond financed by 20% of the town’s existing hospitality tax revenues.

Mayor's Comments

We are excited to get this ruling so Summerville can move forward with this important project. The Dorchester project is an important part of improving downtown Summerville. Properties all around will benefit from increased pedestrian traffic and the citizens of Summerville will no longer have to travel considerable distances to celebrate weddings, anniversaries and the like, Mayor Bill Collins said.

I have been overwhelmed with people coming up to me who are supportive of the project and asking when the hotel will be ready to rent and when they can hold a reception in the conference center. “The sooner this project gets built, the sooner the public can enjoy it and the sooner the town can begin collecting revenues projected to about a half-million dollars a year, the mayor added.