There are 60 storefronts in the development, which totals 425,000 square feet. The Tilt-Up subcontractor was Citadel Contractors of Raleigh, North Carolina; general contractor was Keene Construction Co. of Maitland, Florida; architects were Richard L. Bowen & Associates of Clevelend, Ohio; Robert L. Hume of Raleigh, North Carolina, was the engineer; and the property is owned by Konover Property Trust of Cary, North Carolina.
The Towne Centre was designed to replicate the look of an established, traditional town center where a variety of storefronts were individually developed over time. This design philosophy is the opposite of the unified look of the typical strip mall or freestanding cluster commercial development.
This interesting project came about because of local design review ordinances. The village of Mount Pleasant lies directly across the harbor from Charleston, SC, one of the most famous historical towns in America. Unlike thriving Charleston, Mount Pleasant was originally a small summer retreat and fishing village. Architectural styles in Mount Pleasant were simple and utilitarian, reflecting its rural roots.
Beginning in 1970, however, Mount Pleasant started to grow. The population tripled during the 70's, and commercial growth began at an unprecedented rate that has continued to the present time.
Faced with rapid change, the Town of Mount Pleasant established a Commercial Design Review Board in 1989. The goal of this Board was to retain the unique visual quality of Mount Pleasant's simple rural vernacular architecture while allowing commercial growth to occur.
Even with such a Board operating, the development of several large shopping centers was moving Mount Pleasant away from its roots, so the City passed its "Commercial Village Ordinance." Under this more stringent ordinance, developments had to be designed around the historic planning principles of the village, including on-street parking, individual storefronts, and pedestrian amenities.
All new commercial development had to be designed on historic principles of architecture.
It is ironic that the developers of Town Centre found that Tilt-Up, a relatively new construction process, worked very well for the flexibility needed to build a single development that included varied designs for each component storefront.
The uniqueness of each storefront was established in part by setting panels out of plane. The lapping of panels required that detailing be cast in the sides as well as the face of the building. Tilt-Up worked well for this. In addition, Tilt-Up allowed for "brick" of various colors and designs, tile, different paint colors, and varied railings and canopies that gave each storefront a distinct "look".
Glenn Doncaster, president of Citadel Contractors, noted that the original design for some of the 17 varied structures was not Tilt-Up. But as the project developed the owner could see the advantages of Tilt-Up, and other methods of construction dwindled in comparison. An example of this was the re-design to Tilt-Up of the 16-screen movie theatre, resulting in a cost savings of $250,000 and 2 months' time on the theatre alone.
Four other 5,000 square foot buildings were redesigned to Tilt-Up, and another $200,000 was saved on the entire project.
The Mount Pleasant Town Centre project used 298,835 square feet of Tilt-Up, including 734 Tilt-Up panels and over 20,000 yards of concrete.
It is one of our more interesting award winners this year.
Mount Pleasant, S.C.
TILT-UP TODAY MAGAZINE / PROJECTS IN THE NEWS