Charleston City Council on Tuesday approved a land deal designed to give the American College of the Building Arts a home on the peninsula for the long term.
Council members also gave their support to the rezoning plan for the Cainhoy Plantation development.
In the land deal, Council agreed to sell the historic Trolley Barn property at 628 Meeting Street to the college for $10.
Part of the property would then be subdivided, with the northern section transferred to an investor known as Parallel Capital for $1.75 million. The school would then use about $1.5 million of the proceeds to improve the Trolley Barn building into a teaching environment for students enrolled in the college's artisan program.
The investor envisions adding offices, dormitory housing and business space on the section of the property it gets.
Advocates, including Mayor Joe Riley, say the plan ensures the immediate stainability of the college, which teaches old-time artisan techniques, such as masonry and ironwork. Current enrollment is 37.
Riley called the school a perfect activity for that part of town and for the Trolley Barn, which dates to 1897 and once housed the electric streetcars that served the city. It has become distressed property in recent times.
After numerous members of council aired reservations about the proposal on Monday, it passed with only one dissenter.
Councilman James Lewis questioned whether it was a good sale for the city financially, and for the residents of the area. "To me this is not a deal," he said.
Other aspects of the sale include Parallel obtaining the old City Jail downtown, along with a building on St. Philip Street adjacent to the Memminger Elementary School that's currently controlled by the school district.
One development plan has the jail being renovated as an office geared for the technical industry, and the school property being used to house a non-profit.
Parallel has also offered to endow $100,000 for outreach, to make the school's offerings better known in the community.
In the Cainhoy vote, council endorsed the plan approved earlier by the city's Planning Commission that covers the development of 9,000 acres known as Cainhoy Plantation.
The development area, within the city's Berkeley County boundaries, essentially has no zoning at the moment. The new development plan calls for a more structured approach, though some locals have expressed worry the project is moving too fast, is vague and isn't taking into account the needs of residents, archaeology, preservation and the environment.
Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551
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