River Oaks Business Center

River Oaks is a 4-storey, 105,000 SF building that sits on a 6.9 acre tract of land in North Charleston, South Carolina. Many of the challenges of the project regarded maintaining the natural beauty of the site. This was an important aspect to maintain as it helps attract and retain tenants to the site. Our client came to us with a new need for a 105,000 sq. ft. office building. The project would need to be four levels, provide ample parking, as well as pay special attention to the natural beauty of the site. The four main challenges in the design included:
• Addressing the wetlands covering 35% of the site
• Protect and ensure the survival of the historic live oaks on the property
• Design tenant amenity areas for office staff to refresh and rejuvenate in the building public spaces, such as cafes, open seating, etc

Design Challenge

River Oaks is a 4-storey, 105,000 SF building that sits on a 6.9 acre tract of land in North Charleston, South Carolina. Many of the challenges of the project regarded maintaining the natural beauty of the site. This was an important aspect to maintain as it helps attract and retain tenants to the site. The challenges included: • Wetland area cover 35% of site • Historic live oak trees on property • Creating tenant amenities The undeveloped parcel sat between a manufacturing facility and a well-established residential neighborhood. The Owner/Developer worked extensively with the neighborhood organization and the industrial neighbor in order to maintain vegetated buffers and protect the wetland boundaries contained within the site. This process helped inform the design scheme and fostered a cooperative atmosphere among the neighbors of the development as all parties were happy with the final result. The civil engineers worked closely with the US Army Corps of Engineers and the City of North Charleston in order to respect the wetland boundary and hydrologic character. It remains a key feature of the property. With a beautiful low-country marsh setting, live oak trees and inviting interior, the River Oaks office building is the right mix of natural beauty and modern comforts. "We have enjoyed a long lasting relationship working with [the design team] as they have continued to provide innovative architectural services bringing another successful project to the North Charleston Office Market. Their creative design aesthetic coupled with an eagerness to solve challenges as they arrive has continued to solidify them a key part of our team. Working with them, we have taken great care in designing a project that not only provides the right type of space for companies by providing efficient floor plates and superior location to major interstates, but also improves the surrounding community and creates a sense of place for our tenants and their clients."-Chris Smith, Holder Properties Hand in hand with creating a beautiful outside amenity space, was creating a welcoming lobby with a hospitality feel for which South Carolina is known. The coffee service space invites tenants to linger and enjoy for a bit, and gives the option of a new place to dine for breakfast or lunch. The elevator lobby piques interest on the way up to the office. Similarly it helps tenant staff decompress on the way out the door.

Physical Context

The project site is home to a number of majestic live oak trees for which South Carolina low-country is well known. These “ground trees” as they are referred to in zoning, are fixtures that all site elements must respect. Through careful layout, and strategic design, the trees were not just protected, but integrated into the design scheme to enhance the value and beauty of the landscape. Tenants enjoy an outdoor seating area under the canopy of these ancient, beautiful trees.