First presentation, public meeting set for redevelopment of downtown marina parking lot

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Historic Marina Partners, LLC will present an overview of their early ideas to redevelop Beaufort’s Downtown Marina parking lot during a public meeting Wednesday, March 26.

The Beaufort Redevelopment Commission will lead the meeting, set for 6 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall, 1911 Boundary St.

“This is an important meeting for all of us, and we encourage people interested in this project to attend,” said Jon Verity, chairman of the Redevelopment Commission. “From the very start, we and the City Council insisted that this process include public input.”

Since the mid-1980s, people have asked why this waterfront property, with scenic views of the Beaufort bay and marshes, has been used only for parking. Today there are options being explored to provide more parking in downtown Beaufort. Verity said redeveloping this location could be key to jumpstarting renewed interest in the downtown Beaufort shopping district and boosting the economy.

The property anchors a corner of the core commercial district and serves as a gateway to the Bay Street entertainment row, Carteret Street’s restaurant row, and to The Point’s historic homes.

The approximate four-acre site is between Bay Street and the Beaufort River. It is adjacent to the city-owned Downtown Marina, two public parks — Freedom Park and Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park — and the downtown shopping and restaurant district.

An analysis of the city’s retail, restaurant and hospitality economics by Seth Harry Associates identified redevelopment of the marina site as the best opportunity for making downtown more relevant to regional and local consumers. It also offers an opportunity to strengthen the business climate by attracting consumers with higher disposable incomes to shop, to work and to live downtown, which should result in better operating results for the city, said City Manager Scott Dadson.

Historic Marina Partners, LLC is led by Steve Navarro, president of The Furman Co., and Jim Chaffin with Chaffin/Light.

The Furman Co. Inc, established in 1888, is a leading full service real estate firm based in Greenville.

Chaffin is the co-founder with James W. Light of Chaffin/Light Associates. With over 40 years of experience in resort/recreation community development, Chaffin and Light have developed communities in Colorado, California, and Spring Island in Beaufort County. Chaffin, a Beaufort-area resident, is also a past chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Urban Land Institute.