North Charleston has staked tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on urban redevelopment plans, and with Mayor Keith Summey announcing some new initiatives Friday, it’s clear the city is not letting up.
Summey spoke at the launch of the second phase of Oak Terrace Preserve, a residential development near Park Circle in which the city directly invested about $14.6 million.
While that 374-home development moves ahead, Summey said the city also expects to close on a $9.2 million deal to sell a former shopping center and a hospital that the city purchased for redevelopment, at the intersection of Rivers and McMillan avenues.
In addition, the city is now in talks to buy a roughly 120,000-square-foot vacant factory building, the old Garco mill in the Olde Village. Summey said the city wants to create an “artist colony” there.
And Summey announced that on Thursday the city agreed to buy a historic building on the former Navy base for $308,000.
Summey said the city could to use the building for meetings and events.
Here are more details:
Oak Terrace Preserve
Development of the 55-acre property at the end of Lackawanna Boulevard, across from the Charleston County School of the Arts and Academic Magnet high schools, started a decade ago when the city bought and demolished a privately-owned low-income housing complex.
Today the site is home to 120 houses and townhomes, built in a neo-traditional style with energy-efficient construction. Houses sell in the $200,000 range, and townhouses in the low $100,000 range.
“This is a good opportunity to get young couples moving back,” Summey said.
A city block party is planned today, from 11 to 3 p.m.
The next phase will add 52 houses and 16 townhomes. The city recoups money spent by selling building lots, and by collecting property taxes.
“We couldn’t be more happy with what has been accomplished so far,” said Council President Bob King, who like Summey lives nearby.
In southern North Charleston there are no full-service grocery stores, and the city has been trying for years to attract one.
To that end, the city bought and cleared the Shipwatch Square/Pinehaven Shopping Center site, and in October bought at federal auction the former Naval hospital located on 22 acres across the street.
The city has a pending contract to sell both properties in a $9.2 million deal aimed at covering the city’s costs and bringing in a supermarket.
“I think that with a grocery store coming back, we could do a lot with that area,” said Councilman Michael Brown, whose district includes the hospital site.
Summey said it could take 60 days to complete the sale.
New arts building
The building Summey described as a future artist colony is the last building on the expansive former Garco manufacturing site near East Montague Avenue, where the Beach Co. plans to build new housing and shops.
Kent Johnson of the Beach Co. confirmed that the company is willing to sell the building if terms can be reached.
Summey said the plan is to create loft, studio and classroom space, and a new 250- to 300-seat performance venue.
“I am thrilled to see the city’s continuing support of the arts by purchasing the Garco building,” said North Charleston Artist Guild President Daniel Nadeau.
Building on the base
The Runaway Bay restaurant occupies one of the historic Panama houses where officers were housed. The city owns surrounding land, as part of a recent settlement related to rail traffic associated with new port facility on the base, and plans to development homes there.
“It will offer people an opportunity to live right on the Cooper River,” Summey said.
The restaurant building was in foreclosure after defaulting on a loan from the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments. The restaurant remained in operation Friday, and attempts to reach the owners were unsuccessful.
Reach David Slade at 937-5552 or Twitter @DSladeNews.