“Nationally Celebrated” Community of Daniel Island Marks Two Decades of Town Building In Charleston, SC

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The former City of Charleston mayor, island residents and developers reflect on how the once rural outpost of Daniel Island transformed into a bustling island town that is a highly desirable residential address and a destination for tennis, golf and music fans, along with some of Charleston’s top annual events.

Daniel Island, Charleston, SC

We’ve worked hard to make Charleston a wonderful place for people to live, to call home, with all the important components: a bustling downtown and wonderful public spaces. And that's replicated in a new 21st century form on Daniel Island.

In just two decades, the once rural outpost of Charleston’s Daniel Island has transformed into a bustling island town that is not only a highly desirable residential address in Charleston, but also a destination for tennis, golf and music fans and some of the region’s top annual special events. Daniel Island has matured into one of the most unique new communities in the country, named among the country’s top planned communities and recognized with a prestigious Award for Excellence from the Urban Land Institute for its “smart planning” success.

“I’ve studied new towns and developments in cities around America and Daniel Island is nationally celebrated,” says former Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, who led the City for 40 years and was instrumental in guiding Daniel Island’s development beginning in the 1990s. “It’s won national awards. And it shows how you do it well. If you plan it correctly, you design it, you execute it, all with a great commitment to quality, you end up with a wonderful place for everyone.”

Daniel Island’s residential neighborhoods are nestled in-between 23 miles of rivers and creeks, amongst hundreds of acres of parks, with schools, churches, shops, restaurants, businesses and all of the conveniences of modern living within walking or biking distance. Approximately 11,000 residents call this island town home. Recreational offerings include a private country club, two nationally-ranked golf courses, 25 miles of trails, parks, pools, tennis and two professional sports stadiums. Just 20 minutes away, Charleston’s world-famous cultural and recreational offerings -- including Atlantic beaches, antebellum plantations and downtown Charleston’s dining, shopping and historic attractions - are easily accessible. It was planned to be, and has become, a modern extension of the City of Charleston.

“We’ve worked hard to make Charleston a wonderful place for people to live, to call home, with all the important components: a bustling downtown and wonderful public spaces. And that's replicated in a new 21st century form on Daniel Island,” says Riley.

Among those responsible for guiding the island’s development over the past two decades is Matt Sloan, President of the Daniel Island Company, the island’s master developer. In 1997 he partnered with Charleston developer Frank Brumley and other investors to purchase the 4,000-acre island from its former owner, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation.

“Our goal was for all of the things that you see, do or experience in a small American town to either be here or have the ability to be here by the time we were finished with development activity,” says Sloan.

One of the most important factors contributing to Daniel Island’s long-term success has been the unique public-private relationship between the developer and the City of Charleston.

“The first key partnership that made Daniel Island a reality was our relationship with the City of Charleston,” says Sloan. “The City annexed the property and made us part of their municipality. In exchange they brought water, sewer and services here. But more importantly, they brought a vision. Mayor Riley, a 40 year mayor and a gifted planner in his own right, had a clear sense of what he wanted this place to become as Charleston grew.”

“My hopes and aspirations for Daniel Island were substantial,” agrees Riley. “I knew it had tremendous opportunity, but it has exceeded my expectations. It's beautiful, it's livable. There’s affordable housing and senior housing. Businesses are bustling. It's even better than I had hoped.”

To hear more from Mayor Riley, Matt Sloan and some of Daniel Island’s first residents about Daniel Island’s evolution, click here to view a video commemorating 20 years of community building on Daniel Island.

About Daniel Island
Part of the City of Charleston, Daniel Island is a 4,000-acre master planned island community featuring traditional neighborhoods, award-winning golf and tennis facilities and an outstanding collection of amenities in a self-contained island town setting. The island's downtown is home to schools, churches, medical offices, boutiques, restaurants, banks, a supermarket, two professional sports stadiums and many other attractions and conveniences. Twenty-three miles of rivers and creeks, hundreds of acres of parks, 25+ miles of trails and a private country club provide endless recreational options, and the community's central location within Charleston puts it within a 20 minute drive of the city's famous downtown historic district, area beaches and airport. Daniel Island is currently home to approximately 11,000 residents. For further information visit http://www.danielisland.com.

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Julie Dombrowski
@danielisland
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