The Port of Charleston’s new cruise passenger terminal took a step forward Wednesday night after a 5-0 vote for preliminary approval. State Ports Authority spokesman Byron Miller–
“So basically what this means is that all the big work is done, we’ll come back to look at final details–paint colors and materials and all that–with the bar at a future date. But we are over the two large hurdles of approval with the bar,” says Miller.
The new terminal will be located on the north end of the Union Pier Terminal. Miller says right now there is just an existing warehouse at the site. But–
“We’re going to completely renovate this building into a modern, efficient and appropriate, quite beautiful cruise terminal. Projected to be a $35 million renovation, and will allow us to much more efficiently handle the passengers, the cruise ships and all the associated traffic,” says Miller.
Miller says the placement of the new terminal at the northern end of the pier is beneficial on more than one level.
“It unlocks the southern portion of Union Pier. So once we shift the cruise terminal north, we are able to take down all the chain-linked fences and all the razor wire and we can redevelop 35 acres of waterfront property in the heart of the city–and put that back on the tax rolls. So, that’s a tremendous development opportunity for the community, for the port, and really for the state,” says Miller.
Recently, a cruise debate nearly halted the cruise industry in Charleston because preservationists and environmental groups put up a fight–claiming the cruises polluted the city. Miller says the cruises are great for the economy and with the terminal expansion–
“It’s time to move forward. We’ve been planning and talking for a long time and it’s time to move and that’s what we intend to do,” says Miller.
Miller says final approval is expected near the beginning of next year.