Welcome to a New Way Forward for Union Pier

Welcome to a New Way Forward for Union Pier

A New Way Forward for Union Pier is driven by an extensive community engagement process and informed by site-specific environmental, cultural, urban design, and market analyses to enhance the quality of life for the future of Charleston.

A New Way Forward for Union Pier is driven by an extensive community engagement process and informed by site-specific environmental, cultural, urban design, and market analyses to enhance the quality of life for the future of Charleston.

Missed the open house? Share your ideas here

Missed the open house? Share your ideas here

Meet the Team

Meet the Team

We bring together a team of planning, design, landscape, engineering, engagement, and economy experts who deeply understand how to work in Charleston.

We bring together a team of planning, design, landscape, engineering, engagement, and economy experts who deeply understand how to work in Charleston.

We bring together a team of planning, design, landscape, engineering, engagement, and economy experts who deeply understand how to work in Charleston.

Lead Urban Design, Planning, & Landscape Architecture

Lead Urban Design, Planning, & Landscape Architecture

Landscape Architecture

& Cultural History

Landscape Architecture

& Cultural History

Economic Development

Strategy

Economic Development

Strategy

Community Engagement

Strategy

Community Engagement

Strategy

Project Facilitator & Advisor

Site Context

Site Context

About Union Pier

About Union Pier

Located on roughly 70 acres of fill and terminal piers built over water, Union Pier is currently owned and operated by the South Carolina State Ports Authority. Thanks to SC Ports' plan to sell the site, the land offers high potential for a transformative mixed-use site with public amenities, building off the successful legacy of Joe Riley Waterfront Park which sparked enthusiasm and interest in opening the shoreline for public use three decades ago.


Adjacent to the Cooper River, Union Pier was built on former marshland, filled over centuries as maritime commerce expanded on the site. Passenger travel, storage, shipbuilding, and international trade have all been part of this site’s history, including serving as a significant port where enslaved people first landed in North America.

Located on roughly 70 acres of fill and terminal piers built over water, Union Pier is currently owned and operated by the South Carolina State Ports Authority. Thanks to SC Ports' plan to sell the site, the land offers high potential for a transformative mixed-use site with public amenities, building off the successful legacy of Joe Riley Waterfront Park which sparked enthusiasm and interest in opening the shoreline for public use three decades ago.


Adjacent to the Cooper River, Union Pier was built on former marshland, filled over centuries as maritime commerce expanded on the site. Passenger travel, storage, shipbuilding, and international trade have all been part of this site’s history, including serving as a significant port where enslaved people first landed in North America.

Where is Union Pier?

Want to learn more about the history of Union Pier?

Want to learn more about the history of Union Pier?

Site History

Site History

Era 1

Since Time Immemorial

Indigenous Lands & Waters

Era 1

Since Time Immemorial

Indigenous Lands & Waters

Era 2

1670s-1780s

Fortification, Conflict & Colonial Port

Era 2

1670s-1780s

Fortification, Conflict & Colonial Port

Era 3

1780s-1860s

International Commerce & Industrial Slavery

Era 3

1780s-1860s

International Commerce & Industrial Slavery

Era 4

1860s-1900s

Civil War, Reconstruction & Industrial Revolution

Era 4

1860s-1900s

Civil War, Reconstruction & Industrial Revolution

Era 5

1900s-1950s

Progressive Era, Manufacturing & the Railroad

Era 5

1900s-1950s

Progressive Era, Manufacturing & the Railroad

Era 6

1950s-2000s

Post-War Era, State Ports Authority & Wharf Consolidation

Era 6

1950s-2000s

Post-War Era, State Ports Authority & Wharf Consolidation

Process

Process

Planning Process

Planning Process

To ensure the long-term success of the Union Pier redevelopment, our planning process is guided by these three pillars:

To ensure the long-term success of the Union Pier redevelopment, our planning process is guided by these three pillars:

To ensure the long-term success of the Union Pier redevelopment, our planning process is guided by these three pillars:

Workshop-Oriented

Approach

Integrated

Design

Holistic

Development

Workshop-Oriented

Approach

Integrated Design

Holistic Development

Workshop-Oriented

Approach

Integrated Design

Holistic Development

Although our process is designed to be flexible, our project schedule follows this timeline:

Although our process is designed to be flexible, our project schedule follows this timeline:

Project

Start

Project

Start

Public

Kickoff

Public

Kickoff

We Are

Here!

We Are

Here!

Opportunities

& Constraints

Open House

Opportunities

& Constraints

Open House

Draft

Water Plan

Draft

Water

Plan

Comp. Plan

Amendment

Concept Land

Use Plan

Concept Land

Use Plan

Final

Water Plan

Final

Water

Plan

Peninsula

Plan

Draft

Plan

Draft

Plan

Proposed

Plan

Proposed

Plan

FALL 2023

FALL 2023

WINTER 2024

WINTER 2024

SPRING 2024

SPRING 2024

SUMMER 2024

SUMMER 2024

FALL 2024

FALL 2024

FALL 2023

WINTER 2024

SPRING 2024

SUMMER 2024

FALL 2024

Project

Start

Public

Kickoff

We Are

Here!

Opportunities

& Constraints

Open House

Draft

Water

Plan

Comp. Plan

Amendment

Concept Land

Use Plan

Final

Water

Plan

Peninsula

Plan

Draft

Plan

Proposed

Plan

Union Pier planning will occur alongside and be informed by several city-led processes. Over the next year, our community will work together to shape a vision for the next chapter of Union Pier. At the same time, the City of Charleston will: 

  • Amend their Comprehensive Plan to create a Waterfront Redevelopment Land Use District

  • Amend their Comprehensive Water Plan to include recommendations for Union Pier

  • Expand the scope of the Peninsula Plan to incorporate community priorities for the Peninsula waterfront.

Union Pier planning will occur alongside and be informed by several city-led processes. Over the next year, our community will work together to shape a vision for the next chapter of Union Pier. At the same time, the City of Charleston will: 

  • Amend their Comprehensive Plan to create a Waterfront Redevelopment Land Use District

  • Amend their Comprehensive Water Plan to include recommendations for Union Pier

  • Expand the scope of the Peninsula Plan to incorporate community priorities for the Peninsula waterfront.

Our Union Pier team is working very closely with the City of Charleston to ensure that our planning processes happen in coordination and that the Union Pier plan reflects the outcome of the City's planning process. 

We encourage everyone to engage with all of these processes to ensure the best outcome for the Union Pier site and our community. 

Our Union Pier team is working very closely with the City of Charleston to ensure that our planning processes happen in coordination and that the Union Pier plan reflects the outcome of the City's planning process. 

We encourage everyone to engage with all of these processes to ensure the best outcome for the Union Pier site and our community. 

Engage

Engage

Community Engagement

Community Engagement

Stakeholder Advisory Council

Stakeholder Advisory Council

The Stakeholder Advisory Committee guides our
community-led planning and engagement process …

The Stakeholder Advisory Committee guides our
community-led planning and engagement process …

The Stakeholder Advisory Committee guides our
community-led planning and engagement process …

Read More

Read More

Community Advisory Council

Community Advisory Council

Launched in January 2024, the Community Advisory Council gives voice to the many issues that are important …

Launched in January 2024, the Community Advisory Council gives voice to the many issues that are important …

Launched in January 2024, the Community Advisory Council gives voice to the many issues that are important …

Read More

Read More

Upcoming Meetings

Upcoming Meetings

Stakeholder Advisory Committee Meeting

Stakeholder Advisory Committee Meeting

Stakeholder Advisory Committee Meeting

Feb. 26, 2024
5:30-7:30pm

Feb. 26, 2024
5:30-7:30pm

Feb. 26, 2024
5:30-7:30pm

Charleston Gaillard Center Public Meeting Room, First Floor

Charleston Gaillard Center Public Meeting Room, First Floor

Charleston Gaillard Center Public Meeting Room, First Floor

Join by Zoom
Conference Call #: +1 646 558 8656 US

Meeting ID: 950 4937 2483

Link to Agenda

Join by Zoom
Conference Call #: +1 646 558 8656 US

Meeting ID: 950 4937 2483

Link to Agenda

Join by Zoom
Conference Call #: +1 646 558 8656 US

Meeting ID: 950 4937 2483
Link to Agenda

Union Pier Open House

Union Pier Open House: Opportunities & Constraints Overview & Site Tours

March 5, 2024
9am-12pm & 3-6pm

March 5, 2024
9am-12pm & 3-6pm

March 5, 2024
9am-12pm & 3-6pm

Union Pier Terminal

All are welcome! Together, we will explore Union Pier and learn about how the history and conditions of the site present opportunities and limitations for future development.

What to expect: Site tours (no reservations required!), summary of community input to date, discussion of site opportunities and constraints, cultural keepers corner, and opportunities to weigh in on the future of Union Pier.

Union Pier Terminal

All are welcome! Together, we will explore Union Pier and learn about how the history and conditions of the site present opportunities and limitations for future development.

What to expect: Site tours (no reservations required!), summary of community input to date, discussion of site opportunities and constraints, cultural keepers corner, and opportunities to weigh in on the future of Union Pier.

Union Pier Terminal

All are welcome! Together, we will explore Union Pier and learn about how the history and conditions of the site present opportunities and limitations for future development.

What to expect: Site tours (no reservations required!), summary of community input to date, discussion of site opportunities and constraints, cultural keepers corner, and opportunities to weigh in on the future of Union Pier.

Get Involved

Get Involved

We want to hear from you.


Please share your ideas, questions, or concerns about the future of Union Pier here.

We want to hear from you.


Please share your ideas, questions, or concerns about the future of Union Pier here.

We want to hear from you.


Please share your ideas, questions, or concerns about the future of Union Pier here.

Resources

Resources

Resources

Resources

Past Public Meetings

Past Public Meetings

News Room

News Room

Image Credit: Duke University Libraries

Missed the Public Kickoff? We want to hear from you.

Missed the Public Kickoff? We want to hear from you.

Help us design a New Way Forward for Union Pier.

Help us design a New Way Forward for Union Pier.

A New Way Forward

for Union Pier