The new corporate owner of the First Baptist Church’s former school gymnasium and parking lot in the Charleston City Market doesn’t have a timetable on developing the 1-acre parcel, but whatever goes there could potentially bring a significant change to the block.
Jake Farver, senior vice president of Somera Capital Management LLC, said the company will take its time in figuring out how best to re-do the site.
Church leaders sold the gym and the 84-space pay-lot last week as they plan to shift the school’s athletic programs onto 62 acres on James Island.
While a selling price for the two plots wasn’t disclosed, the area is zoned general business which means any new development could include several varieties of retail, including restaurants, the city said.
The owners also could do residential and office space. An inn or hotel is possible, but it would be subject to a 50-room limit.
The site dates to 1973 when First Baptist Church built its school gymnasium and activity area, making the church an early participant in the effort to kick-start what was then a dormant Market area.
“It became a place where people began to go,” current Pastor R. Marshall Blalock said of the children and families who came in for basketball games.
Today, First Baptist has about 500 students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
The last basketball game inside the gym was held Tuesday night. “A bunch of old guys playing basketball,” Blalock said.
“It’s sad,” he added. “Generations of students have played in that gym.”
The pay-to-park lot will stay in operation for the foreseeable future.
Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.
First Baptist Church and School has sold the parking lot and school gym on Market Street, between Anson and Church streets.×
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