Downtown Revitalization: Charleston

April 9, 2013 19 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Metro Jacksonville explores the urban core of the South's original large city: Charleston.

Tale of the Tape:

Charleston City Population 2011: 122,689 (City); 697,439 (Metro-2012) - (incorporated in 1670)

Jacksonville City Population 2011: 827,908 (City); 1,377,850 (Metro-2012) - (incorporated in 1832)

City population 1950: Jacksonville (204,517); Charleston (70,174)

City Land Area

Charleston: 109.0 square miles
Jacksonville: 757.7 square miles

Metropolitan Area Growth rate (2010-2012)

Charleston-North Charleston: +4.94%
Jacksonville: +2.40%

Urban Area Population (2010 census)

Charleston-North Charleston: 548,404 (ranked 76 nationwide)
Jacksonville: 1,065,219 (ranked 40 nationwide)

Urban Area Population Density (2010 census)

Charleston-North Charleston: 1,869.5 people per square mile
Jacksonville: 2,008.5 people per square mile

City Population Growth from 2000 to 2011

Charleston: +26,039
Jacksonville: +92,405

Convention Center Exhibition Space:

Charleston: Charleston Area Convention Center (located in North Charleston) - 76,960 square feet
Jacksonville: Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center (1985) - 78,500 square feet

Connected to or across the street from Convention Center:

Charleston: Embassy Suites North Charleston - 255 rooms
Jacksonville: N/A

Tallest Building:

Charleston: Saint Matthew's Lutheran Church - 255 feet
Jacksonville: Bank of America Tower - 617 feet

Fortune 500 companies 2012 (City limits only):

Charleston: N/A
Jacksonville: CSX (226), Winn-Dixie Stores (363), Fidelity National Information Services (425), Fidelity National Financial (472)

Urban infill obstacles:

Charleston: N/A - Charleston has one of the densest and active urban cores in the South.
Jacksonville: State & Union Streets cut off downtown Jacksonville from Springfield.

Downtown Nightlife:

Charleston: Market Street, East Bay Street
Jacksonville: East Bay Street

Common Downtown Albatross:

"Perception" of parking problems.

Who's Downtown is more walkable?

Charleston: 98 out of 100, according to
Jacksonville: 88 out of 100, according to

About Charleston

Charleston is the oldest and second-largest city in the southeastern U.S. state of South Carolina, the county seat of Charleston County, and principal city in the Charleston–North Charleston–Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city lies just south of the geographical midpoint of South Carolina's coastline and is located on Charleston Harbor, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean formed by the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper rivers.

Founded in 1670 as Charles Towne in honor of King Charles II of England, Charleston adopted its present name in 1783. It moved to its present location on Oyster Point in 1680 from a location on the west bank of the Ashley River known as Albemarle Point. By 1690, Charles Towne was the fifth largest city in North America, and it remained among the ten largest cities in the United States through the 1840 census.

With a 2010 census population of 120,080 (and a 2012 estimate of 124,632), current trends put Charleston as the fastest-growing municipality in South Carolina. The city's metropolitan area population was counted by the 2010 census at 664,607 – the second largest in the state – and the 75th-largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States.

Known for its rich history, well-preserved architecture, restaurant community and mannerly people, Charleston has received a large number of accolades; they include "America's Most Friendly [City]" by Travel + Leisure in 2011 and subsequently Southern Living magazine naming Charleston "the most polite and hospitable city in America".,_South_Carolina

Charleston vs. Jacksonville: Through the Years

In 1800, Charleston was the 5th largest city in the country behind New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Baltimore. Jacksonville would not surpass Charleston in population until the early 20th century.

18,824 - Charleston
N/A - Jacksonville*

*Although founded in 1791, Jacksonville wasn't incorporated until 1832.

40,522 - Charleston
2,118 - Jacksonville

49,984 - Charleston*
7,650 - Jacksonville

*August 31, 1886 earthquate measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale, damages 2,000 buildings in Charleston.

55,807 - Charleston
28,429 - Jacksonville*

*One year later, Jacksonville is destroyed by fire, setting the stage for its early 20th century development boom.

91,558 - Jacksonville
67,957 - Charleston*

*In 1920, the Society for the Preservation of Old Dwellings is formally established in Charleston.

201,030 - Jacksonville
60,288 - Charleston*

Current Charleston mayor Joseph P. Riley elected in 1975. Riley has been the city's mayor for 38 consecutive years.

540,920 - Jacksonville*
69,779 - Charleston

*Jacksonville merged with Duval County in 1968.

735,503 - Jacksonville*
96,650 - Charleston

Jacksonville rapidly expands outward at the expense of its urban core.  Economically stagnant for much of the early 20th century, Charleston mayor Riley, leads revitalization efforts in the city by focusing on livability and quality-of-life enhancements.

821,784 - Jacksonville
120,083 - Charleston

Downtown Charleston

The Historic Downtown District has stood throughout Charleston’s history as the cultural capital of the South and is considered by many to be a living museum, with a wonderful variety of things to do and see. In this beautifully preserved city you can experience tours through historic landmarks, including 18th century homes and plantations, the Battery, museums, churches and the city market. The number of historic sites in Charleston South Carolina is astonishing. Charleston also boasts numerous art galleries that display the city’s impressive appreciation for the visual arts.

 1 2 3 4 5 NEXT