North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey announced today the city will sell the old Naval Hospital on Rivers Avenue and the old Pinehaven shopping center to a developer who plans a mixed use project featuring elderly housing, a grocery store and parks.
The $9.2 million deal, which could go before City Council on Dec. 20, would reimburse all the city’s costs in the area that has struggled since the U.S. Navy closed the neighboring base more than 15 years ago.
“We operate a little differently than a lot of people,” Summey said of his city. “We will take a chance. I just believe sometimes it takes government to stimulate. We’ve been very fortunate in the stimulations we’ve created to date.”
The purchaser is Chicora Gardens LLC, named after the park designed by the famous American landscaping firm founded by Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed Central Park in New York City. The planned development will also be named Chicora Gardens.
Other than the name, little else is set, including the exact mix of owners, said Rick Brownyard, a Mount Pleasant attorney representing the development group.
Summey said he hopes the deal will close within 90 days and the group then would present a more specific development plan to the city sometime next year.
In October, the city placed a $2 million bid for the property during an online auction by the General Services Administration. The property at 3600 Rivers Ave. not only includes the 10-story hospital, one of the city’s tallest buildings, but also 23 acres.
The deal announced today also includes 18 acres across Rivers, where the city already has razed much of the old Shipwatch Square shopping center.
Summey said from the city’s standpoint, the most important thing is the developer promises to bring a grocery store to a part of the city that once had seven but now has none. “Everything else is pudding,” he said.
Read more in upcoming editions of The Post and Courier.