Advocacy groups unite in their support for public amenities at Union Pier

May 20, 2024

Mayor William Cogswell announced today that a broad coalition of advocacy groups have signed a letter in support of establishing a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District to fund public infrastructure and greenspace at Union Pier.

Historic Charleston Foundation, the Preservation Society, Coastal Conservation League, Historic Ansonborough Neighborhood Association, and the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce have endorsed the Mayor’s initiative to start a TIF district at Union Pier, ensuring the public funds will not be used to subsidize private development, but provide for public access to the water, ample green space for all to enjoy, resilience measures, affordable housing, and public infrastructure.

In a joint letter delivered to members of Charleston City Council, Charleston County Council, and the Charleston County School Board, the coalition emphasized the critical importance of utilizing the TIF mechanism to realize the shared vision of Union Pier.

The letter sites the desire from resilient water and sewer infrastructure, parks and open space, sidewalks, and other public amenities that enhance livability, affordability, and public access to the historic waterfront.

“Union Pier has the opportunity to provide world-renowned public amenities and be a place that not only residents of the Lowcountry, but all of South Carolina can be proud of.  Setting up a TIF District is an important first step to achieving this goal as it will be critical to attracting state and federal resources.  There is no question this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I am proud to have the support of these diverse and forward-thinking groups,” said Mayor Cogswell. “We have seen TIF Districts like the one that helped revitalize King Street used to enhance not only our city, but our region in the past, so we look forward to working collaboratively with residents, advocacy groups, City Council, County Council, and the School Board to make this a reality for our residents.”

Since taking office, Mayor Cogswell has been clear with the South Carolina Ports Authority and the prospective buyer on what residents would like to see at Union Pier: public access to the water, lower density and height, significant green space, resiliency measures, a meaningful component of affordability, a local developer, and removing the cruise terminal.