From Base Closure to New Urbanism
Can an innovative urban reclamation project in South Carolina transform a run-down older suburb into a nationally acclaimed
By Catherine Fahey and John H. Tibbetts
Courtesy Kirk Fromm
Driving eastward from Interstate 26 along Montague Avenue in
North Charleston, South Carolina, you might wonder how the ramshackle bungalows
and forlorn industrial buildings could ever fit into the New Urbanist “city
within a city” planned here.
But keep driving. Once you enter a revitalized downtown
district, another picture begins to emerge. Along this charming,
four-block-long “main street” on either side of East Montague Avenue, brick
storefront buildings that were 70 percent vacant only five years ago are filled
with businesses that include a coffee shop, a deli, an Irish pub, and an
organic garden store. Crumbling curbs are gone, and the streetscape is
immaculate, inviting, and walkable.
You’ve just had a sneak peek at the first stage of Noisette,
the infill development that is the largest urban reclamation project in the
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