More than a year after floating the idea of selling their headquarters building on Morrison Drive, members of the International Longshoremen's Association have decided to stay where they are.
More than 300 dock workers with ILA Local 1422 voted by more than a 2-to-1 margin against selling the current building to the highest bidder. The final tally of this week's vote was 231 against the sale and 101 for the sale, according to the group's website.
Ken Riley, president of the local chapter that supplies dock workers for the Port of Charleston, had pushed for the sale because the union's membership of roughly 1,300 people has outgrown the 31,640-square foot building at 1142 Morrison Drive. Riley has also pointed to limited parking at the site as a reason to look for a new home.
Riley could not be reached for comment.
If the ILA members had voted to sell their current building, the union planned to move to a 110,179-square-foot office and warehouse site off Leeds Avenue that used to house the Hill-Rom medical products company. Hill-Rom closed the North Charleston site in 2015.
The union hall is in Charleston's fast-growing and rapidly changing NoMo area on the upper peninsula, home to technology companies such as e-commerce firm Blue Acorn as well as restaurants and breweries and the high-end 930 NoMo apartment building geared toward college students.
The ILA hadn't specified a sale price for the Morrison Drive property, but real estate values in the area have increased in recent years as development spreads north from the peninsula.
The Hill-Rom property last sold in 2017 for $6.4 million to 4349 Corporate Road LLC, according to Charleston County property records.
The Morrison Drive union hall was designed by architect Harvey Gantt, the son of a Charleston shipyard worker who graduated from Burke High School and became the first black student to be admitted to Clemson University. He later was elected mayor of Charlotte and ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate.
The union hall has been a popular stop for Democratic rallies and events since its construction in 2002. The building also regularly hosts social advocacy groups and events such as banquets.