State Ports Authority parking lot

A parking lot along North Market Street in Charleston is among four parcels the State Ports Authority has agreed to sell to hotel developer Lowe Enterprises for $1.9 million. David Wren/Staff

Lowe Enterprises, which is building a 225-room hotel along Charleston Harbor on the site of the former State Ports Authority headquarters, is buying more property from the maritime agency.

The Los Angeles-based developer has agreed to purchase four parcels on North Market Street for $1.9 million. The properties, which total about a quarter-acre, are near the future Lowe's hotel site at 176 Concord St.

The parcels, including one fronting East Bay Street, are currently used for parking. Dan Battista, Lowe's senior vice president of development in Charleston, said the company doesn't have any immediate plans for the lots.

"Lowe is currently evaluating the parcels to determine the highest and best use of the property," he said.

The property is also near the historic City Market and other tourist draws.

Lowe bought the SPA's old headquarters site for $38 million in 2017, although the state agency stayed in the building until its new headquarters opened this year near its Wando Welch Terminal in Mount Pleasant.

The hotel, which borders the city's Waterfront Park, will have retail spaces and a cafe on the ground floor that will be available to guests and the public. Lowe also is adding a 400-foot public walkway along the harbor connecting to the park.

The hotel is scheduled to open in 2021.

The SPA has been selling off land it doesn't need for port operations. In addition to the deals with Lowe, the authority has sold its abandoned Port Royal site near Beaufort — where a developer plans to construct new homes, shops, restaurants and a hotel. It also has divested itself of two Morrison Drive parcels near the peninsula's blossoming technology cluster and a 162-acre parcel off Clements Ferry Road in Berkeley County.

The maritime agency uses money from the sales to help fund its waterfront operations. The sales also return property to local and state tax rolls, because the authority is exempt from paying such taxes. The hotel site, for example, is expected to generate $6.3 million annually in property, accommodations, sales and other taxes as well as business licenses and other fees once it is redeveloped.

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Feed the need

Aerospace giant Boeing Co. is funding a sustainable foods program at the College of Charleston to teach students the skills needed to establish and maintain a small business in farming or food processing.

The Veteran Food Systems Training Program will offer veterans, their families and others continuing education credits and academic credits toward a bachelor's degree in professional studies.

In addition to first-hand experience in either field, students will complete a business planning course and a boot camp in digital marketing. Field experience courses will be held at either The Growing Minds Educational Farm in Mount Pleasant or The Crop Stop Farm Kitchen at Sweet Grass Gardens on Johns Island.

The cost is $2,000 for continuing education students and normal tuition rates for college students. Boeing is funding full and partial scholarships for veterans and military family members. For more information on the program, contact Dr. Olivia Thompson at 843-953-6752 or ThompsonOM@cofc.edu.

Reach David Wren at 843-937-5550 or on Twitter at @David_Wren_