Patriots to outline development

Patriots Point is mulling development plans for land it owns next to the Yorktown aircraft carrier. (Staff/File)

The Patriots Point Development Authority said will make a major announcement Wednesday about the strategic development of some of the 367 acres it owns in Mount Pleasant.

The announcement will be made on the World War II-era aircraft carrier Yorktown, the centerpiece attraction at the state-owned tourist site on Charleston Harbor.

“This project, the most significant decision to come from Patriots Point in decades, will have a lasting economic impact on Charleston and the state of South Carolina,” Patriots Point said in a statement Monday.

The naval and maritime museum has been working for months to put together a plan to develop 36 acres around its ticket office.

Previously discussed plans have called for a new museum, hotel, visitors center, gift shop and restaurants.

Patriots Point Executive Director Mac Burdette was mostly close-lipped about the announcement Monday except to say that it involved a “critical piece” of the 36 acres.

“The board has found the most unique piece of the puzzle going forward,” Burdette said. “It certainly is going to be directly related to our mission in terms of cultural and educational influence on the state and the nation. It will have tremendous economic impact to the point that it will be one of those unique activities that in and of itself creates significant room night sales (at hotels).”

Patriots Point's board has been grappling for months for a way to pay back a $9.2 million loan made by the state to help restore the destroyer Laffey and keep it from sinking in the harbor.

It also faces a monumental task of raising money to restore the Yorktown, which some estimate could cost up to $100 million to fix though no study has been done yet.

Developing the property around the ticket office would inject an infusion of money into the state agency, which receives funding for its nearly $10 million budget from tourist-related activities.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.