The Historic Charleston Foundation has decided to negotiate the sale of McLeod Plantation on James Island with the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission, following a vote by the foundation's board of trustees Wednesday night.
Historic Charleston previously, controversially, sold the property to the American College of the Building Arts, only to later buy it back. The town of James Island under Mayor Mary Clark launched an attempt to acquire the property by using the town's power of condemnation, but later abandoned that effort and after Clark lost a bid for re-election, town officials urged the foundation to sell McLeod to the PRC.
The College of Charleston had also considered buying the property, with a plan to create athletic fields there.
The 38-acre McLeod tract includes the plantation's 1853 main house and five slave cottages. In September, Historic Charleston sought proposals from potential buyers who would preserve the property and provide public access.
The PRC emerged the winner of the proposal process when Historic Charleston's board voted unanimously to have its executive committee proceed with negotiations.
"In taking this action, the Foundation's trustees have remained true to their commitment to protect and preserve the architectural, historical and cultural resources of this invaluable historic site, while providing public access that will allow future generations to enjoy and learn from this unique property," said Historic Charleston Foundation Executive Director Kitty Robinson.
Tom O'Rourke, director of the PRC, said a price has been agreed upon and he hopes to see the sale close within 30 days. The foundation had said the appraised value of the property was about $4 million, though it previously sold the property to the American College of the Building Arts for $850,000.
"This (negotiation) is about making sure everyone understands the easements, the restrictions, and comes to an agreement about the future of the site," O'Rourke said.
O'Rourke said the PRC is prepared to spend about $2 million to stabilize the McLeod buildings, following the purchase.
Read more in Friday's editions of The Post and Courier.