Gaillard criticism: Mayor Riley defends $142 million revamp of auditorium (Greenspace design approved)

Image by Gaillard Center

Updates are at the bottom:

$142 million remake of the Gaillard Municipal Auditorium on Calhoun Street has been under design for a couple of years now and thanks to increasing flak directed at the proposed bigger theater and office building in the well-to-do Ansonborough neighborhood, Charleston Mayor Joe Rilley has penned an editorial defending the plan as-is.

The section of that op-ed that struck me the most is:

There was a suggestion in a recent op-ed column that the Gaillard Center project be abandoned for a new, not precisely defined site, which the city does not own, on the waterfront next to the cruise terminal.

There are many things wrong with this idea. One is that an approach like this would probably conservatively cost an additional $100 million which is not attainable from the city or private sources. It is also fiscally irresponsible to suggest that the city abandon this project after $13 million has been spent.

That comment about a "recent op-ed column" refers to the one by Evan R. Thompson, executive director of the Preservation Society of Charleston, who offered alternative ideas and wrote, "it is not too much to consider how we can take [the project] to the next level without suffocating adjacent neighborhoods."

You can check out Riley's editorial over at The Post and Courier.

Update April 26: Charleston’s Board of Architectural Review gave the green light to a conceptual redesign of the open space outside of the Gaillard Auditorium.

According to the article in today's Post and Courier, the redesign of the outside landscaping
will include space designated as an “event lawn” and “banquet terrace.”