North Charleston has second thoughts about selling East Montague parking lot

North Charleston officials have stalled plans to sell a large, city-owned parking lot on the East Montague Avenue business strip to the owners of Sesame restaurant.

In different ways, both sides want certainty. The restaurant owners rely on the parking lot, which they rent from the city, and hope to buy. The city wants to know how the property will be used in the future, considering it's location at the entrance to the trendy business strip.

A plan to sell the property to the restaurant owners, announced in November, stalled out last week when some members of City Council were hesitant to embrace the deal, and at least one council member said the city shouldn't sell the property in any case.

The owners of Sesame restaurant have been renting the property for $200 a month, and still hope to buy the land for an appraised price of $157,000.

North Charleston bought the vacant property at Spruill and East Montague avenues in 2008 for $85,000.

Mayor Keith Summey has said the restaurant owners plan to eventually build a new restaurant on the parking lot property. Casey Glowacki, a partner in the group that owns Sesame Burgers & Beer and Five Loaves Cafe, in November described a long-term "dream" plan to build a two-level restaurant in a building resembling a train depot.

"We're never going to sell it," Glowacki told council members on Dec. 19. "We're going to keep it, and keep expanding."

Councilman Bob King, who represents the resurgent commercial area east of Park Circle, said the city should have a larger role in deciding what happens along Spruill Avenue near East Montague, and should keep the land. Other members of council worried that if the property were sold, the new owners could later build whatever the zoning allows or re-sell the land for a profit.

Discussions are expected to resume in January.

Reach David Slade at 937-5552

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