A city-owned house that once was home to naval officers on the former base in North Charleston could soon be a venue for wedding parties and other events.
By the time it’s ready for guests, the house will have cost North Charleston more than $463,000, but Mayor Keith Summey is sure it will be a good venture for the city.
“We believe the potential for leasing it out for $1,000 a day is a reasonable price,” he told City Council members this week, while seeking authority to spend $160,000 on renovations.
The building, constructed in 1937, is one of several “Panama” houses along the waterfront adjacent to North Charleston’s Riverfront Park. For several years it was the Runaway Bay restaurant, and then the city purchased it for $303,000 this year when the restaurant owners’ loan fell into default.
Kitchen equipment and other fixtures were removed by creditors, according to the city, so now the city is planning on putting in a commercial-grade kitchen that caterers could use, an elevator, and other improvements.
In addition to owning the adjacent park — the building looks over the park through large picture windows — the city owns surrounding land as part of a recent settlement with the state related to a planned port facility on the former base.
The building itself is officially known as Quarters K, and is one of 40 buildings and sites that comprise The Charleston Navy Yard Officer’s Quarters Historic District, which was added to the National Register in 2007.
“The district forms a cohesive representative example of permanent naval housing construction and trends in United States naval military housing history between 1898 and 1945,” said the National Register application.
“The design (of Quarters K and similar houses) was adapted from Army Quartermaster plans designed for use in the Panama Canal zone, hence the local name of ‘Panama House’,” the application said.
Quarters K was the first of four Panama houses constructed by the Works Progress Administration.
Summey said the house will be used for city functions and civic purposes as well as being available for event rentals.
When the building was a restaurant, it could seat 120 people in a large second-floor dining room and in three private dining areas on the first floor. Outdoor seating was also offered on a large patio.
City Council members have embraced the plan, through their unanimous support of both the building purchase and the renovations.
Reach David Slade at 937-5552 or Twitter @DSladeNews.
North Charleston purchased this building adjacent to Riverfront Park in March for $308,000 The building, which was in foreclosure, was previously home to the Runaway Bay restaurant (as seen here in 2010). The city now plans to spend $160,277 to improve the building for public uses and event space. ( Leroy Burnell/postandcourier.com/12/29/2010 )×