Wheeler and Wheeler Properties proposed Justice Square development will meet a range of housing needs and is envisioned as a catalyst to spur further revitalization in the heart of Beaufort’s historic Northwest Quadrant.
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Bounded by King, Monson, Prince and Harrington streets, the two-block Justice Square residential community will bring new life to what can best be described as an underserved area, demonstrate that different income levels and styles can be aesthetically compatible and economically connected, and add to the tax base and economic growth.
In 2018, Wheeler & Wheeler, a Columbia-based real estate firm, began the process of buying the old Beaufort County Jail at 1409 King St. with plans to transform it into nine individual residential condominiums to be known as Justice Place. This project has been fully approved and construction is expected to begin this year. In 2022, Wheeler & Wheeler signed an agreement to purchase the remaining portion of that block, 1407 King St., as well as the adjacent block, 600 Wilmington St.
Building on the renovation and adaptive reuse of the old Beaufort County Jail, Wheeler & Wheeler is now in the process of finalizing a contract with the county to include in the Justice Square residential community:
Phase I: The historic redevelopment of the Beaufort City Jail into 9 condominiums called Justice Place. The residences will be offered for rent for 5 years to meet the requirements of the tax code. Each unit incorporates features preserved from the original jail but yet the development is modernized to meet all current building codes. The 2018 Beaufort Housing Study identified bringing housing to attract young urban professions as one of the four key objectives and Justice Place meets that expectation.
Phase II, The Cottages at Justice Square, are 13 homes designed to evoke and enhance the historic character of the neighborhood, and priced to attract both first-time home buyers and empty nesters. This property is nestled on half of the remainder of the block bounded by King, Monson, Prince and Wilmington streets. This project will require the acquisition, demolition and environmental remediation of the building housing the county DHEC office and vital records storage.
Phase Ill: Justic Park is a 39-unit affordable housing community. Affordable housing is in short supply across Beaufort County. A 2018 county assessment of housing needs found only 812 affordable housing units operated by the Beaufort County Housing Authority. In a recent article in the Beaufort Gazette, Beaufort Housing Authority Executive Director Angela Childers estimated the county needs thousands of additional units to meet the demand for what is also known as workforce housing. “Conservatively, I’d say we could use easily 4,000 more units,” she told the Gazette. A commitment, required by the county, was made to add workforce housing that will serve teachers, nurses, police and fire personnel, service workers and others. This phase requires the relocation of the Beaufort County Health Office at Wilmington and King streets and the demolition of and remediation of any environmental concerns. The design concept for Justice Park is being prepared by Beaufort architect Cooter Ramsey of Allison Ramsey Architects Inc.
The entire Justice Square project is being undertaken with sensitivity to preserving the legacy of the area’s history beginning with the adaptive reuse of the old Beaufort County Jail. Garvin Design Group of Columbia, which has won numerous awards across the state for its preservation efforts, is the architect for the jail project.
Wheeler & Wheeler combines over 50 years of development, marketing and ownership experience developing and marketing historic properties such as the former Fannie McCants Elementary School converted to townhomes and 1520 Lady St. adapted to office space, both in Columbia, as well as recent projects such as St. Anns Alley, an urban infill project marketed for Spring Street Partners and FLOW Townhouses, both in West Columbia.