Noisette Update for October 2013

The Noisette Company shares an update on the Noisette Community.  The update can be viewed here.

Noisette 2013 Update

From the update:

Foreword from the Noisette Company

“The Noisette Company has always believed that the most durable communities are those that have developed a common vision, and that a truly sustainable culture starts with the health of our ecological, life support, and social systems as a highest priority.  We are proud to share the following update on Noisette and are thankful for all of the friends that have joined us on this journey in building a sustainable city – one that is socially just, respects our ecological systems, restores our intuitive understanding of our natural world and benefits our human health, while creating a sustainable economy that allows access and opportunity to all in the community.

The Noisette Community continues to progress and is in significantly better health then it was 12 years ago when we first launched.  The community has evolved and grown as it was designed to do.  The community truly galvanized behind a common vision for the future and continues to execute on that vision.  The tipping point has been reached, and the Noisette Company is proud of the community and all that it has accomplished.

During the project, one role of The Noisette Company was as catalyst; helping to grow the local capacity of partners to build a sustainable culture, to communicate the vision, lead planning efforts, and inspire others to invest their time and resources.  The number and diversity of partners that have joined us are key measurable outcomes of the success of our efforts.

It is with great pride that The Noisette Company announces a formal end to their involvement in the Noisette Project.  The Company will no longer be active in its Navy Yard roles as master developer, property manager and community builder.  The Company will no longer own real estate within the Navy Yard.  The face of ownership of Navy Yard property has been transforming for years, as was always intended, sparking additional private investment into the area.  The plan for the Navy Yard continues to adapt and grow, and the future remains bright.

While the Noisette Company did not have any real estate ownership interest outside the Navy Yard, the Company led the creation of the Noisette Community Master Plan for the 3,000 acre community.  The Noisette Master Plan and the CityCrafting process analyzed the condition and potential of the Noisette Community.  In addition, the Company designed and led the community-based planning and engagement process.  The Company desired to be the catalyst for change.  While the Company had direct involvement at the Navy Yard and Oak Terrace Preserve, one thing is clear, it has been a true community effort as developers, businesses and residents have invested in the vision of the Noisette Master Plan.  No matter who is developing projects within the Noisette Community, these projects are achieving success when judged against the principles set forth in the Master Plan and the Triple Bottom Line philosophy.

A sincere thanks to all of those that joined us on our journey and helped to create a common vision for the future.  A vision that is being executed upon and continues to evolve.  We look forward to following the progress and the next evolution of the Noisette Community.  We offer the following update to our Sustainability Report, an update that is by no means comprehensive but rather highlights some of the success stories, challenges and organizations that have been so vital to the progress of the 3,000 acre Noisette Community – a model for sustainable community revitalization.”

Download the pdf report here: Noisette Update 2013 (appx 22 MB file size)

[Updated 10/8/13 – This blog is no longer maintained]

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How Spruill Avenue got its name

The Noisette Master Plan set forth a vision to preserve and honor the unique character of the community.  One of the most important parts to come out of the Noisette Master Planning process was the idea of creating a socially durable community.  From the Noisette Master Plan:

Socially Durable Communities:

We recognize that socially durable communities have two core elements that are essential to their long-term social and fiscal health:
* Each member of the community understands the UNIQUE HISTORY and HERITAGE of their social community and physical place.
* Each member of the community holds in common a vision for the future to which they help contribute.

Knowing and understanding the history of our community strengthens our understanding of socially durable communities.  Our street names tell many stories from our past.  The following is taken from a letter written to the Post and Courier by Charles Mitchum some years ago regarding Spruill Avenue…

“A recent letter to the editor stated that there are many roads and bridges in the area named for men and women who over the years have faded from memory.  This letter provides the background of one of those roads.

Spruill Avenue was named for my uncle, Wilbur L. Spruill.  He was the son of Vera and Edward Spruill and one of eight siblings.  His father, Edward died when Wilbur was 10.   He was then raised by his mother with a lot of help from my mother, Lurlene, his oldest sister.  Vera ran a boarding house near the Tuxbury Lumber Co., located on Shipyard Creek, had its own employee commissary, the Tuxbury Mercantile Co.

Wilbur started working there as a clerk while still in high school, was promoted to manager and after the lumber company burned down, was give the opportunity to buy it.  With no money down and a low interest rate, he jumped at the chance.  the business, located on the right side of Meeting Street at the beginning of what is now Spruill Avenue, prospered and he was soon able to marry the love of his life, Dorothy Smith.  They lived in an apartment above the store until, shortly before his death, he was able to buy a beautiful home on Rhett Avenue, just off Park Circle.

Wilbur was an entrepreneur, before the expression became popular.  In addition to his store, he had real estate, rental apartments and had plans for opening a drive-in theater in the North Area.  He had a wonderful outgoing personality and was an active member of many organizations.  He was president of the South Carolina Junior Chamber of commerce and the Suburban Junior Chamber of Commerce, of which he was one of the organizers.  He was the first president of the North Charleston Businessmen’s Association.  He was a past master of Hammerton Masonic Lodge of North Charleston.  He was a Shriner, an Elk and a Lion.  He was well known throughout the county and state and had announced plans to run for the state House of Representatives.

He died in a horrible car and train collision when he was only 31.  It is still difficult to believe all he accomplished in those 31 short years.

On July 11, 1947, he was going from the King Street Extension to Meeting Street at the Rosemont Crossing.  Witnesses reported that he had stopped, looked both ways and safely crossed the two Southern Railroad tracks.  He then stalled his brand new Ford Coupe on the Coastline tracks.  He wasted too much time trying to start his car before attempting to exit.

The area was stunned, and his funeral procession filled the entire route from J. Henry Stuhrs’ downtown chapel to Bethany cemetary.

The naming of Spruill Avenue shortly after his death memorialized him.  Its location is particularly appropriate, as it runs from his store at Tuxbury Crossing to East Montague Avenue, near his home on Rhett Avenue.”

Charles Mitchum
1004 Seacrest Lane
Folly Beach

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Noisette and the Masters Tournament Connected

Last year, we showed six degrees of separation connecting Noisette and the Masters Golf tournament. Revisit the connections here all in one blog post.

Part 1

Over the next 6 blogs and before the end of the Masters Tournament on April 11, we will be connecting the area known as the Noisette Community to the upcoming Masters tournament. This will be a history story of sorts and will discuss Park Circle, Liberty Hill, The Navy Yard, Chicora Park and more.

The Noisette community/ North Charleston area was occupied by Indians before Europeans started arriving in the late 1600′s.  After the arrival of the Europeans, plantations were strategically set up on the Charleston Harbors and rivers.  The Upper Neck area bordering the Cooper River included Marshlands Plantation among several others.  Retreat Plantation aka “The Retreat” later became known as Turnbull Plantation.  Parts of Turnbull later became a Park which we will discuss in future blogs.  Oak Grove Plantation bordered a creek feeding into the Cooper and Paul Noisette bought this plantation in 1865.  This is where our story begins.  Stay tuned for future posts as we connect Noisette to the Masters Golf Tournament.

Part 2

In this second installment of connecting the Noisette community with the Masters tournament, we will be following a timeline of events crucial to the formation of the area in North Charleston known as the Noisette Community.  The post Civil War time period saw the area begin to transform into a critical social, economical and industrial alternative to the established City of Charleston on the lower peninsula.

  • 1872 – The City of Charleston ended roughly 3 miles from the Battery, the “neck area” was largely made up of freed slaves that purchased small tracts of land for small farms.  Liberty Hill community was established circa 1871 by freed slaves.  This area also employed a significant number of freed slaves in the phosphate rock and timber industry.  Phosphate rock was used in fertilizer and these industries began the transformation of the area into a major industrial area for the lowcountry.
  • 1895 – Board of Park Commissioners of City of Charleston purchased nearly 600 acres of Retreat Plantation bordering Cooper River.  Today, this area is known as Chicora Gardens, the Noisette Preserve and Riverfront Park.
  • 1896 – City names Park – Chicora Park.  Famed Olmsted brothers were hired for design.  Existing Turnbull Plantation was incorporated into their plan
  • 1897 – Railway company built a passenger station and extended tracks from downtown to Chicora Park.  A bandstand was built, along with a dance pavilion and a small zoo.  Chicora Park represents Charelston’s first effort to plan the North area as well as its first substantial experience with professional landscape architects
  • 1899 – Land acquired for golf course
  • 1900 – City begins pursuing Port Royal Naval Station Relocation
  • 1902 – Construction of shipyard begins with the largest pier and dry dock on the East Coast of the U.S.

Part 3

Part 3 of this series brings us to the North Charleston area around 1912.

The North Charleston Development Corporation was instrumental in master planning the current day Park Circle and surrounding areas into an integrated live, work, play community.  They were influenced by the Garden City concept which originated in England and championed by Ebenezer Howard.  The area to be developed was in between the present day Noisette and Filbin creeks and was where emerging industrial, naval and shipyard organizations were setting up shop.

In 1912, a group of residents of Charleston purchased appx 5000 acres in the “neck area”.  This was the most ambitious development project in the lowcountry.  It was a local project, using local capital, with local citizens being the vital players.  This group was comprised of accomplished individuals such as Rhett, Montague, Durant, Buist, Hyde and O’Hear.  Rhett was the key visionary in this master planning of the area.    Rhett believed that the industrial and agricultural sectors could be bound together in a new environment, a new urban form which became known as the New South Garden City.  The founding principle was that anyone working in North Charleston may live upon their own farm and grow their own food while living close to work.  Truly sustainable living, which we currently are seeing a movement back to these roots.  The area, in one grand scope of development strategically looked to bring our railroad and shipping terminals together where business would naturally occur.  At fair market rates, sites for factories, villages for employees and suburban type residences were planned.

The creation of a garden landscape was important to the developers.  The plan was based on a hub and spokes of a wheel.  The next step was to find a planner that could design and work with the vision set forth by this local group.  Stay tuned for the details of this process as we get closer to connecting the Noisette community to the Masters tournament.

Part 4

We’re getting closer to the opening rounds of the Masters and today we’re discussing the 1914 plan of North Charleston developed by William Bell Marquis.  Marquis was a young, Harvard trained architect.  He was to take the vision created by Rhett and his group (Part 3 of this series) and make the vision a reality.  The plan for North Charleston represented a bold effort to build a new city on the “neck.”  The plan would draw on planning principles of the Progressive Era, including the environmental aesthetics of the City Beautiful and Garden City movements.

The below map is a general map that holds a clue to connecting this series to Augusta and the Masters.  Can you figure out the next connection?

Six Degrees Summary Thus Far:

Part 1 – 1600′s-1865 North Charleston Area History

Part 2 – 1872-1902 – Plantations, Parks and the Navy

Part 3 – 1912 – Local development Group Crafts Vision for New Urban Community

Part 4 – 1914 – Landscape Architect William Marquis plans Park Circle Area

Part 5 – TBD…Teaser…Who hired William Marquis?

Part 5

Part 4 of this series saw us discuss William Marquis and his plan for the Park Circle area located in the Noisette Community of North Charleston.  The connection to the Masters Tournament is becoming more apparent and the previous post held a clue located in the bottom rt corner of the map in the form of text, “PJ Berckmans Co Augusta GA.”  Berckmans Nursery aka Fruitland was the first large scale horticultural nursery in the South East US.  Founded in 1858 in Augusta GA by Louis Berckmans.  In addition to their nursery business, landscape design and community planning seemed a natural fit.  The grounds later would become the site of the Augusta National Golf Club.  Fruitland Manor was the Berckmans family home.  The Berckmans were selected to design North Charleston around 1914 and they selected the young William Marquis as their main man.  I’m a little biased but I think he did a pretty good job!

Six Degrees Summary Thus Far:

Part 1 – 1600′s-1865 North Charleston Area History

Part 2 – 1872-1902 – Plantations, Parks and the Navy

Part 3 – 1912 – Local development Group Crafts Vision for New Urban Community

Part 4 – 1914 – Landscape Architect William Marquis plans Park Circle Area

Part 5 – 1914 – William Marquis hired by the Berckmans Group out of Augusta Georgia

Part 6 – Coming soon…Wrapping it all up to the Masters and kicking off the weekend of play

Part 6

Part 5 of this series brought us to Berckmans Nursery in Augusta Georgia.  The Berckmans hired Marquis for the design of North Charleston in 1914.  The Berckmans home was known as Fruitland Manor and now is the Augusta National Clubhouse.  In 1931, golf Champion Bobby Jones and his business partners created the club and golf course.  The two sons of Prosper Berckmans, assisted in the landscape design of the golf course.  Many of the plant varieties developed and improved by the Berckmans family still grow today at Augusta National.  Many plants like the azaleas and wisteria can be found in the design of Augusta National and  the North Charleston Park Circle area and enjoyed today.  The connection goes back almost 100 years and some prior history was necessary to get us from the 1st degree on.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride and the connecting stories!


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Noisette – A National Model for Sustainable Community Revitalization

Noisette – A National Model for Sustainable Community Revitalization

“The Noisette project at the old navy yard is dead.” – Ron Brinson in letter to the Post and Courier 1/2/2011

“…the failed Noisette real estate development…” – Joe Taylor in SC Department of Commerce Press Release 12/22/10

The Navy Yard at Noisette is a child of the Noisette Master Plan that began in 2001.  Ten years later, there is some confusion as to the success and future of the plan(s).  Noisette has received numerous national awards and accolades over the years yet the local perception in the Charleston region is misguided.   Too often the words failed, failure, or dead precede the word Noisette and that is a shame.  A shame because they are wrong and a shame because this “failed” perception is a desired label by many that do not call the area home nor do they come to educate themselves before speaking in this manner.  They do not see the progress that so many in the area have worked so hard on for these past 1o years…or perhaps they do not want to see.  It seems that many do not wish to see the success of the Noisette project(s) and for whatever reason, continue to label it in this manner.

One thing is clear, if you truly understood the master plan and took a ride thru the community today and compared it to where the area was 10 years ago, you would see why the term “failed” when used to describe the Noisette area is completely inappropriate.  This determination between success and failure is in the eye of the beholder but I know there are many that take offense to an outsider calling it a failure.  Noisette is more then the Navy Yard development alone.  In fact, the Navy Yard is just one piece of a larger vision and plan, a plan that in a relatively short amount of time has garnered national attention, praise, and accomplishment.

Noisette’s success or failure cannot be judged like any other typical developer.  Typical developers utilize one matrix in determining which projects they under take and therefore measure success, the bottom line.  Noisette utilizes the triple bottom line.  A balance of people, planet, and profit.  This makes Noisette unique and different and therefore, traditional measurements of success cannot be applied.  The revitalization of the Noisette community required a different approach and the Noisette Company was the only company willing to take the challenge as well as the risk.  Today, because of the vision and the plan, other developers, companies, residents, and the even the Charleston County School District have joined in to invest in the sustainable revitalization of the community.

“A Community of Lasting Value (from the master planning process 2001)

Noisette redevelopment combines the efforts of the Noisette Company, as well as City Planners, local residents, business owners, builders and craftspeople.  The approved master plan outlines work that will take decades to complete.  The ultimate goal will be realized when Noisette is established as a new urban center for North Charleston and the Lowcountry – a center that celebrates its history and natural environment, and a community enjoyed by a diverse citizenry who find it adds new value to their lives.”

If you still desire to measure the success of Noisette as compared to any other developer, you must at the very least, revisit the goals and timelines set forth by the original plan.  Without even considering that modifications to any plan change over time, in particular, development plans adjusting to difficult economic times, you can measure the Noisette project a success on multiple levels.  It’s important to point out that from the beginning, the vision and plan was to take decades to bare fruit.  Perhaps the scale of progress and the speed at which progress has occurred does not satisfy those that use the word failure.

There is a misperception that because the master planning process began in 2001, that is how long the Navy Yard project has been undergoing redevelopment.  Let’s clear that up.  The first years were committed to public engagement and involvement.  All stakeholders were invited to participate in the planning process.  Navy Yard property was acquired by Noisette in phases beginning in the second half of 2003 and ending with the final transfer of land in 2006.  For a redevelopment project of this size, scope and importance, things did not and could not be rushed.  Environmental clean up, infrastructure planning and engineering were taking place behind the scenes.  This process takes years before new construction can take place.  It is during this time that several factors were at play:

1)         We entered the worst economic recession since the 1930’s.  Financing dried up for everything from small subdivisions to large urban developments.

2)        It is apparent that behind the scenes, State government forces were at play, made apparent in 2008 by the release of their State Rail Plan placing an intermodal train yard in the center of the Navy Yard project.  State officials have also commented to citizens that their plan has been in the works for 10 years.  These few individuals have never wanted Noisette to succeed.

While cleanup, infrastructure planning, and engineering efforts were taking place, many success stories at the Navy Yard and in the larger Noisette community were taking place.  During the master planning process, key areas were identified in the community for immediate redevelopment to jumpstart additional investment and revitalization efforts.  Focusing on these areas like a surgeon would focus on vital organs for an individual while they are lying on the operating table dying, was critical to encourage the overall growth and success of the plan.  Concentrating on these key areas have spawned additional development and investment in the community.  Some examples include:

  • Century Oaks now Oak Terrace Preserve – Would residents in this nationally recognized community use the word failure to describe their community?  Would residents in the surrounding community argue failure when in 2008 home values in the area had the second highest appreciation rate of any neighborhood or district within the Lowcountry?
  • North Park Village now Horizon Village – What once was littered in run down buildings and razor wire fences, making up the largest public housing project in the state is now a model for affordable housing for the region, providing pride and opportunity for residents that was not available prior.  Would you call that a failure?
  • Mixson – A unique new community built with a wide variety of home styles providing the latest green and energy efficient technologies.
  • Half Moon Outfitters – A rehabilitated storefront on E. Montague Ave was the First LEED Platinum building in South Carolina.
  • Hunley Waters –36 homes to be built to Earthcraft and Energy star standards border the overlook the Noisette Creek Preserve.
  • East Montague Business District – Infrastructure and streetscape improvements have revitalized this once mostly deserted avenue giving the Park Circle area it’s distinct character and appeal with a unique mixture of local businesses, restaurants and bars.
  • GARCO – Environmental cleanup is nearing completion. The recession and rail plan issue no doubt have slowed development opportunities for this mixed-use development.
  • Riverfront Park – A 15-acre sustainable park bordering the Cooper River provides river access to the community for the first time in close to 100 years.
  • Navy Yard – The Navy Yard at Noisette has gained national and international accolades for the appx 340 acres revitalization of a portion of the former Charleston Naval Base.  With 2,000+ employees and 80+ businesses operating in the Navy Yard footprint, the site has undergone a revitalization unique to any business community the region has to offer.   Properties purchased and rehabilitated by private entities include Runaway Bay Restaurant, Coleman Snow Consultants, WPC Engineering, Parham & Co., Live Oak Consultants, Lead Dog Properties, Lowcountry Orphan Relief, Callies Biscuits and several other private purchases.  A solid foundation of high paying job growth opened the door for residential development as the newly finished West yard Lofts shows.

The Master Plan also identified the need for nonprofit entities to be set up to address the various issues facing the community.  These organizations were either set up by, or supported by Noisette and the subsequent Noisette Foundation.  The Noisette Company and Foundation lists a myriad of organizations it has supported directly and indirectly.  The Foundation dedicates itself to the issues of Environment, Human Health, Economic Development, Social Justice, Education, and Arts & Culture of the community.  The Noisette Foundation is the catalyst for collaborative neighborhood redevelopment in North Charleston. It identifies local community strengths, listens closely to residents and promotes successful local projects. It studies persistent social problems and works to enhance neighborhood problems solving through research, advocacy and the development of relevant solutions.  What other developer out there can list this on their bio?

A sample of organizations or programs supported thru the foundation include:  The Sustainability Institute, the Michaux Conservancy, the Michaux Restoration Crew (a Civic Justice Corps), HUB Academy, SC Reentry Initiative, Energy Conservation Corps, AmeriCorps*VISTA Regional center, SC STRONG, Lowcountry Local First, His Way Ministries, Metanoia, and the list goes on.

Schools as Centers of Community is a concept identified in the Noisette Master Plan.  The plan also identified the need for creation of a multi-disciplinary graduate research center.  This center would turn the Noisette Community into the Silicon Valley for the restoration economy.  Storm Cunningham referenced this concept in his books entitled Rewealth and Restoration Economy.  Central to the concept of creating a more livable community is the quality of the services, resources and amenities that the schools offer to their residents.  The school district has invested heavily into the area.  North Charleston Elementary became the first LEED silver certified school in the state.  N Charleston High School under went substantial improvements and additions.  The Center of Arts and Academics which serves Academic Magnet High School, School of the Arts Middle and High Schools is a massive investment into the community.  Palmetto Scholars Academy is the state’s first gifted and talented charter school.  Noisette identified the need for and worked tirelessly to bring a research institution of higher education to the area.  To this end, Noisette worked with Clemson for years after they expressed an interest in locating a research campus here.  With the Noisette focus and the Warren Lasch conservation Center already nearby, the Clemson restoration Institute and subsequent Wind Turbine Testing facility made perfect sense.  The list regarding community education opportunities continues on in the master plan.

Although comparing the success of Noisette with other developments is rudimentary in nature, many continue to do so.  In reality, in 2001, there were no other projects like Noisette.  No other developer decided to engage the public the way Noisette did.  No other developer worked hand in hand with small business leaders, community groups, and City officials to work towards a mutually beneficial plan.  No other developer spent money on preserving the historical and environmental sensitive areas in the community.  No other developer forward funded public parks.  No other private developer funded a community-based master planning process for over 2,700 acres of a city.  Noisette utilized the best in their respective fields from around the country to work with the citizenry in transforming their city.  All that being said, for those that will continue to measure Noisette against typical developers, let’s look at some of these comparisons.

  • Port Royal Sale – the most recent project to fall thru with multiple issues regarding the state surrounding this possible deal
  • Daniel Island Ryland Center and Publix Shopping Center Complex – Foreclosure action, vacancies and asset values have not left Daniel Island untouched by market conditions
  • Carolina Park – Sold at foreclosure auction 2010
  • Anson House – July 2010, BOA foreclosed on the developer of the 32-unit luxury condominium near SC Aquarium
  • KB Homes – 2010, a national homebuilder pulls out of Charleston market.  Are they a failure?
  • The Tides luxury condominium project in Mt, Pleasant went into foreclosure in 2010
  • Magnolia – Magnolia is the designated local competitor of the Navy Yard.  Many people make comparisons of the two projects since they had a similar scope, challenges, development plans and timelines.  Aside from some environmental cleanup, little progress has been made on this site.
  • Carnes Crossroads – 2,000 acres in the Summerville-Goose Creek area is a mixed-use community by the Daniel Island Company.  Their timeline has drastically changed compared to original projections.  This scale of project has received little press regarding their inability to move forward with substantial vertical construction.
  • Long Savannah – Originally planned 3,000+ acres in the West Ashley Area of Charleston called for mixed-use development.  Have heard little if anything regarding this project in over 3 years.
  • Watson Hill – 6,000 + acre proposed development near Middleton Place went into foreclosure in the end of 2008
  • Cigar Factory – Mixed-use development in Charleston.  40k sq ft of retail, 25k sq ft of office space and 66 residential lofts.  Scheduled completion date of July 2010 came and went.  Construction was halted after federal bank regulators seized the small Georgia lender that was to provide the $37 million to complete the overhaul of the historic East Bay Street building putting the project on hold indefinitely.

The Noisette vision represents the only way that our region can successfully deal with regional growth pressure without burdening our natural environment and municipal governments.  Some see the benefits to the surrounding area like reduced recidivism, and increased educational opportunities being pursued by the Noisette Foundation. Some recognize that our roadways are becoming too crowded and more projects closer to Charleston core are needed.   Over the past several years, we have taken note of an interest in people wanting to come back to the Noisette area.  This mirrors a national trend that has firmly established itself in other cities around the US.  It represents a move towards urban, walkable, mixed-use environments.  First tier suburbs—ones like Park Circle that began their decline in the 50’s—have become hot neighborhoods again throughout the U.S.  Combine that market shift with a vision for revitalization like the Noisette Community Master Plan, and it’s not surprising to see the positive results.  Come see for yourself.  I’ll be more then happy to show you around.

-Geoffrey Reid lives and works in the Noisette Community.  He owns a boutique-marketing agency, which does work for the Navy Yard at Noisette Community & Business District Association(s).  Previously he worked for 6 years for the nations largest residential developer in various southeastern markets.  Email him at

For more information, follow these links – Noisette Master Plan, and Navy Yard at Noisette Blog.

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Make It a Noisette Community Day

With the “be a tourist in your own town movement” going on in the Charleston area right now (which is an awesome idea),  I wanted to share some ideas for being a tourist at Noisette.  Maybe you live, work or play in the Noisette Community.  Maybe you are visiting the area and are curious.  Maybe you live in the Noisette Community and have friends or relatives visiting you and are looking for some things to do.  May I suggest you make it a Noisette Community tour?

I’ve had the pleasure of touring hundreds of people thru Noisette over the past year.  Groups have ranged from international conferences to my own relatives and friends.  There’s a lot to be proud of and depending on your interest and regardless of time of day (or night), Noisette has you covered.

That being said, a couple of months ago, a group of residents from the Del Webb (DW) at Cane Bay community in Summerville, SC took a day trip to explore North Charleston and some spots in the Noisette Community.  We enjoyed having them hang out with us.  Below is a report written by one of the residents.  I’d be happy to suggest some ideas for you as well.  Just send me an email at and I’ll be happy to assist.

From Cane Bay Resident:

“On September 7th, 26 members of DW Charleston toured the Charleston Navy Yard led by our Wentworth Lifestyle Director.  This area is rich with history, but also is full of promise for the future.  Here are some of the things we saw and enjoyed.

Our first stop was the Warren Lasch Conservation Center located well within the confines of the old Navy Base which houses the H. L. Hunley.  As most of you know, the Hunley was lost after she sank the USS Housatonic, a Federal sloop-of-war, just outside Charleston harbor in 1864.  Soon after sinking the Housatonic, the Hunley itself sank and the crew perished.  The Hunley was found by Cleve Cussler in 1995 and eventually brought to the surface in 2000.  Moved to the Conservation Center and kept in a tank of chilled fresh water, the Hunley is being excavated and studied for what it can tell us about this sad chapter of our nation’s history.

Unfortunately, little can be discerned about the Hunley as you gaze down into the tank; however, our guide provided ample information on the development and construction of the Hunley as well as details on its fateful sailing.  The Conservation Center also houses a number of artifacts from the Hunley as well as other historic items and several mockups of the boat that were used either for a National Geographic TV special or in a made-for-TV movie.  Regardless of their feelings concerning the Civil War, all present were awed by the sense of dedication by the crew members by volunteering to sail on a boat that had already sunk and killed two earlier crews.

From the Hunley, we began a bus tour of the historic Charleston Navy Yard now being redeveloped and revitalized sustainably as The Navy Yard at Noisette.  Begun in 1901, the Yard—later to become the Charleston Navy Base—played a large role in our nation’s defense until it closed in 1996.  The relatively sudden loss of nearly 20,000 military and civilian jobs staggered North Charleston and its recovery over time has been slow, but today the Base is evolving into a desirable place for industry and small businesses to relocate.  It also is becoming a destination of sightseeing, recreation and even as a place to live.  During the tour, we saw various historical buildings to include the Power House and the old hospital complex.  We also saw several of the former military housing units now being used as background for the TV program, “Army Wives.”

The final stop on the tour was Riverfront Park with its memorial “Greater Charleston Naval Base Memorial”  to those who had served on the Base and panoramic views of the Cooper River as it flows under the Don Holt Bridge and then past the Detyens Shipyard towards Charleston Harbor.  Of note, a new restaurant, Runaway Bay, is scheduled to open soon in one of the restored homes along the waterfront offering Jamaican and Caribbean cuisine.

Lunch was at Cork Neighborhood Bistro located at 1067 East Montague Avenue in Park Circle, just outside the confines of the Navy Base.  While the food was good, the camaraderie was even better as a fellow neighbor entertained his fellow diners with hilarious tales of his misspent youth.

Following lunch, we made one last stop at Coast Brewery, a craft brewery located in a small building just inside the Navy Yard at Noisette.  Coast is one of two breweries in the Charleston area and by far the smallest.  Opened in 2007, Coast is family-owned and operated where even the children of the owners assist in putting labels on the beer bottles.  Jamie, part-owner (along with her husband, David) described the brewing process and offered samples of three of their beers:  “32/50 Kolsch,” an ale that was dry with a pleasant hop finish; “HopArt,” an India Pale Ale with a 7.7% alcohol content; and an “Event Horizon” beer that is only brewed seasonally.

Following our filling lunch, the beer in the warm brewery cast an almost hypnotic spell over the travelers as they departed for home altogether satisfied with their tour of the brewery and the other interesting locations they had seen.”


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North Charleston/Noisette Area Receives Award for Revitalization


North Charleston Receives National Award for Sustainable Urban Revitalization project

Denver, Colo. – North Charleston, SC, has been chosen as one of eight cities to receive the Award for Municipal Excellence from the National League of Cities (NLC). The city will be honored Friday, December 3 at a ceremony and luncheon during NLC’s annual Congress of Cities & Exposition in Denver, Colo. North Charleston has been chosen as a Silver winner in the 50,001 to 150,000 population category for the Sustainable Urban Revitalization project.

The Sustainable Urban Revitalization project in North Charleston brought together public, private and non-governmental organizations to help revitalize the city impacted by the closure of the Charleston Naval Base.  Beginning in 2001 with the start of the Noisette Master Plan, the project has rejuvenated the East Montague Business District, which includes the first LEED Platinum building in South Carolina; created the Oak Terrace Preserve, a green housing development; and several new public schools including the LEED-certified North Charleston Elementary School and Charleston County’s School for the Arts. North Charleston’s project has benefitted the community through increased economic development projects, new sustainable neighborhoods and the restoration of historic buildings and streetscapes.

“The City of North Charleston has worked diligently to transform its urban core into a sustainable city center to increase the overall quality of life of our residents. Over the past few years, we have seen a welcomed influx of young families, complemented by new businesses to provide an economic boost for our City,” said Mayor R. Keith Summey. “North Charleston will continue burgeoning to become an even greater place to live, work, and play.”

As a Silver winner, North Charleston will receive an award of $1,000, which will be donated to the community non-profit of the city’s choice.

Other award-winning cities include: Kingsport, Tenn.; South Bend, Ind.; Newport News, Va.; New York City; Clemson, SC; Minneapolis and Los Angeles.

“We congratulate North Charleston and its Sustainable Urban Revitalization project for receiving an Award for Municipal Excellence,” said Donald J. Borut, NLC executive director. “North Charleston’s program has improved the quality of life for all citizens by developing a creative solution to a pressing local problem.”

The Awards for Municipal Excellence recognize city programs that improve the quality of life in local communities through creative collaboration, excellence in city government and best practices in municipal policy.

For more information on North Charleston’s winning program, please contact Ryan Johnson,, 843-740-2520.

Additional information regarding the awards program can be found at

The National League of Cities is the nation’s oldest and largest organization devoted to strengthening and promoting cities as centers of opportunity, leadership and governance. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.

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Save Noisette Creek Mural Unveiling Event


This highly collaborative project combines art, environmental education and community service
to visually encourage public interest in protecting our local natural resources.

DATE: October 11, 2010 at 6:30p.m.
LOCATION: Charleston County School of the Arts (SOA)
5109 W. Enterprise Street North Charleston, SC 29405
Rose Maree Myers Theatre lobby (SOA Theater)

Please join the Michaux Conservancy and Charleston County School of the Arts
for a viewing of the “Save Noisette Creek” exterior wall mural. The 8′ by 12′ mural,
six months in the making, originated with an AmeriCorps*VISTA member who works
with the Michaux Conservancy.

The mural was designed and painted by Charleston County School of the Arts eighth-
grade students under the guidance of visual arts teacher Marie Nichols. Rob Maniscalco,
the city of North Charleston’s Artist-in-Residence, also contributed to this work.

A special thanks to the Ashley Cooper Stormwater Education Consortium and the City
of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department. These agencies paid for project supplies.

We encourage you to pass this invitation along to any of your co-workers or to
colleagues you think would like to join us!

For a map and driving directions click here
The Rose Maree Meyers Theater is located by driving past the school office and
visitor center to the very last parking lot. The SOA campus map is attached.

The Michaux Conservancy
We use the Noisette Creek and Preserve to reconnect people with
nature while promoting the importance of clean, healthy waterways.

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North Charleston Ads from Circa 1915

The below ads were in the local paper from the North Charleston development company that was actively developing the area commonly referred to today as Noisette/ Park Circle area.  In short, these were for the initial residential lot offerings and showed North Charleston as a modern suburban lifestyle option.  I think they came pretty close to saying “A great place to work, live and play” in one of the ads.  Glad to see the vision is still intact today!  The initial planning for the area represented a bold effort to build a new city on the neck. Initial settlement and migration took place around 1915 when the GARCO company came to town and later in 1936, the paper mill.  WWI, then the Great Depression left their marks and while there was a period of stagnation, WWII provided a boost unlike the area had ever seen before.  The resolution is a little blurry but pretty interesting nonetheless.  Enjoy!  Click Categories and then History on the Right side of the screen for more history related info on the area.

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Hollywood, L.A., and North Charleston? – Army Wives Filming in Full Swing Here at Noisette

There is an article today in the Post and Courier discussing the film industry and the State of South Carolina.   Mention of the Army Wives show filmed in and around the Charleston area is in the spotlight.  Army Wives in currently filming their 4th season for the Lifetime channel.  The show films in various locations and can be seen all around the Noisette Community. In particular the Navy Yard at Noisette is ground zero for much of the site shooting.  Pretty cool working around here and you feel like you’re on a hollywood set some days…I guess you kind of are.

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Make it a Noisette Community Weekend!

Have plans this weekend? You do now! Sir Geoffrey makes his recommendations for the weekend.

Friday – East Montague Happy Hour – Many choices for good times and great food.

Saturday – Olde North Charleston Village Street Sale – 8:00am-12:00pm

– Oak Terrace Preserve Block Party – Saturday May 22 11:00am-4:00pm

Sunday – Relax at Riverfront Park – Take a bike ride or a book and enjoy this awesome spring weather!

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