A crowded Charleston County courtroom fell silent Tuesday as a judge called off the $24.7 million bid for much of the land that made up the ambitious urban revitalization deal that came to be known as the Noisette Project.
The quiet that followed ushered in a new era for the 240-acre parcel on the north end of the former Navy base.
Without any competing offers for the debt-laden foreclosed land, the property was taken over by the lender that owned Navy Yard at Noisette LLC's mortgage.
The new property owner, CHSA LLC, is registered in Delaware and has ties to former S.C. Department of Commerce Secretary Bob Faith, who heads a Charleston-based real estate investment firm.
Faith of Greystar Partners hasn't spoken publicly about CHSA's plans since it bought the mortgage in August for an undisclosed amount. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday. He did not attend the foreclosure sale.
Since 2001, Noisette officials aired plans for the former Navy base land, which included residential and commercial development. The biggest parcel fell into foreclosure in June 2009.
Noisette developer John Knott said that he plans to develop the remaining acreage that was not part of Tuesday's court sale. And he said that even though his firm no longer controls the largest piece, he seemed confident that the new owner will follow the development's original plan.
"All the covenants and restrictions and design standards are part of that property, whomever owns it," Knott said. "The vision of the design stays the same."
The land is not zoned for heavy industrial uses, which is what state Commerce Department officials seem to have in mind for the property. A rail plan from the agency identified the Noisette site as a place where trains could be loaded with cargo at a State Ports Authority terminal being built on the south end of the former base.
Private developers would have to comply with the Noisette property's current zoning, but if the new owners somehow partner with Commerce's S.C. Public Railways unit, it could use the state's power to condemn property.
That legal action could trump the city's and development plan's existing rules.
North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said he still hasn't heard about CHSA's plans for the land. He said he opposes any plan by the state to convert the former Noisette site into a rail yard, saying it would hurt the quality of life for surrounding residents.
"I still have faith in the majority of the Legislature that they're not going to try to backdoor us with anything," he said. "I don't think we'll be blindsided."
It's unclear where any state entity would get the money to pursue a rail project. The state's $5 billion general fund already faces a $1 billion shortfall, primarily from the loss of federal stimulus dollars.
Commerce spokeswoman Kara Borie wouldn't say whether the agency is assembling partners to buy the property.
"We are continuing our process of determining the best solution that will provide equal dual access and enhance the competitiveness of the Port of Charleston with the least impact on the community," she said in an e-mail.
Yvonne Wenger of The Post and Courier contributed to this report. Reach Katy Stech at 937-5549.