Patriots Point Development Authority on Monday offered a 99-year, $99 lease to the proposed $100 million Medal of Honor Museum on waterfront land at the state-owned tourist attraction.
The unanimous vote decision came after a two-hour, closed-door meeting where board members discussed the specifics of the 120-page lease document.
The dollar-a-year lease for 7.4 acres Patriots Point owns on the waterfront must now be approved by the Medal of Honor Museum organizing committee before heading to the state Budget and Control Board in March, said Mac Burdette, executive director of Patriots Point.
The lease must be in place before the Medal of Honor Museum Foundation can begin raising money for the sweeping, multilevel architectural venue that could one day overlook Charleston Harbor.
The main points of the lease and the closed-door meeting, Burdette said, involved enticing the Medal of Honor Museum to locate at Patriots Point while also trying to balance the board’s responsibility as stewards of state property.
He said the lease includes certain timely benchmarks for the proposed museum and if they are not met, the property will revert to Patriots Point.
“In a worst-case scenario, if they could not raise the money, we want to make sure the property isn’t just sitting there for 99 years and we couldn’t touch it,” Burdette said.
A second part of the lease involves an estimated 7.8 acres adjacent to the museum site. The property is slated for commercial use. The lease gives the Medal of Honor Museum an option for a period of exclusivity when Patriots Point would not take any offers from other parties.
The offer is being made to the museum because the proposed museum and Patriots Point don’t want an incompatible use going in beside an institution of its stature.
“If they haven’t executed their option and a hotel, for instance, wanted to go there, we would notify them and they would have a certain amount of time to act,” Burdette said.
If they didn’t act, the option would go away. It would also be null if the museum were never built, he said.
“We want it to work, but we have to protect the state of South Carolina and its assets,” Burdette said.
Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.
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