While the fate of two proposed Berkeley County hospitals remains stalled in a legal battle, Roper St. Francis Healthcare announced Wednesday its plan to build a 60,000-square-foot medical office building in the Carnes Crossroad area.

Roper St. Francis Healthcare CEO David Dunlap estimated the Berkeley County project could cost $30 million and may create several hundred jobs.

"We're still getting bids and proposals," he said. "We've got a couple of developers who are competing for this."

Trident Health and Roper St. Francis Healthcare were both granted permission by the state health department to build a hospital in Berkeley County, but Trident Health contends only one is needed. Meanwhile, plans for both projects are tied up in the legal appeals process. Dunlap said he does not expect movement on the issue until this fall.

The new medical office building will be built on the same site as the system's future hospital - about 1,200 feet north of the intersection of U.S. Highways 176 and 17A, said Doug Bowling, chief strategy office for Roper St. Francis Healthcare.

"If we get a good decision out of the appeals court and are able to start the hospital up there in the next two years, we'll want to have the medical office building and the services up there in advance of that," Bowling said.

He anticipates the new medical office building, which will house imaging, urgent care and oncology services, will be complete by the end of 2015.

In February, Palmetto Primary Care Physicians announced plans to build $135 million Palmetto Health & Wellness Campus about four miles west of the proposed Roper St. Francis Healthcare project in the Nexton community. It will include an ambulatory surgery center, a 24-hour urgent care unit and rehabilitation services.

"I think what's proposed at Nexton is much larger," Bowling said.

A spokesman for Trident Health said he had no comment on the Roper St. Francis Healthcare announcement Wednesday.

Reach Lauren Sausser at 937-5598.