Sheila Major planted a tree in front of her mobile home years ago and watched it grow tall as she raised her three children and sent them off to college.
On Wednesday she and a friend were cutting that tree down, using the tools they had handy, in order to clear the path for moving her home out of Trailwood, a once-bustling mobile home park in North Charleston where a large hotel and office development are planned.
The remaining residents of Trailwood had been asked April 1 to move out by Wednesday, but dozens of trailers still remain. Just one year ago, there were approximately 420 mobile homes there.
Some of the remaining mobile homes are occupied, others have apparently been abandoned.
Hand-lettered signs posted around the property offer to buy residents’ homes for “same day cash.”
“A lot of people are here wanting to buy your home for nothing,” said Major, who is self-employed.
She plans to move out this week, relocating her mobile home to a plot of land she purchased on Johns Island.
“It’s been stressful,” she said. “It’s hard to see friends you’ve known for 20 years leaving.”
Some residents have struggled with the cost of moving a mobile home, which runs into thousands of dollars. Many have lived at Trailwood for decades.
“Trailwood Mobile Home owners and managers have been working with residents to make the process of moving as simple and painless as possible,” said Elizabeth Boineau, a spokeswoman for park owner Truluck Properties. “In fact, most residents have already settled into or have set a date to move to a new location.”
Plans to sell the 105-acre mobile home park site near Boeing’s aircraft assembly plant and the Tanger Outlets mall have been known for about a year. Residents of the park were all on month-to-month land leases.
The property buyers, operating as Palmetto Land and Sea LLC, are considering building a hotel, offices and stores on the property. One thing that’s made the property very attractive for development is a plan Charleston County has been discussing since 2010 to rebuild and relocate Michaux Parkway.
The final details have not been announced, but all versions of the road plan would run the new road right along the Trailwood property line, putting the Trailwood site on a major road connecting to Dorchester Road, West Montague Avenue and International Boulevard.
Last week Charleston County Council’s Finance Committee cleared the way for an $80 million bond issue that, among other things, would pay for the design of that road.
On Wednesday, as Major was cutting down her tree, with wood chips flying as a circular saw bit into the limbs, two of her former neighbors’ homes were being towed out of Trailwood by relocation companies. Most of the property is now empty trailer pads.
“For those who don’t have a definite move date, the company will work with them to facilitate that process,” Boineau said. “The company is hoping the few who have not yet indicated their move plans will now begin to make those plans.”
William Witting, who represents the property buyer Palmetto Land and Sea LLC, said after residents were told to move out by May 1 that the buyer’s plan is to complete the purchase, then go to North Charleston government with a zoning request and plans for the new development.
Reach David Slade at 937-5552 or Twitter @DSladeNews.