Charleston County Council approves 245 acre Mount Pleasant land buy

A $20 million land purchase for parks and recreation in Mount Pleasant was approved unanimously by Charleston County Council Thursday, removing the last regulatory hurdle for the pricey real estate deal.

The town and the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission are splitting the cost, and each are using the last of their remaining funding from the county's half-cent sales tax for transportation and green space projects.

With the council's approval of the deal, the town and the PRC hope to complete the purchase by the end of this month. The town expects to use part of the 245 acres on Rifle Range Road, near Hamlin Road, for baseball fields and recreational activities, and the PRC would use a portion as a future park site.

The PRC owns and operates Palmetto Islands County Park, a short drive from the new park site, and manages the town's new Waterfront Memorial Park.

Mount Pleasant Town Council and the PRC commissioners previously approved the Rifle Range Road land deal.

Mount Pleasant developer William J. Sheppard III controls Heart of the Town LLC, town officials have said. Sheppard just recently withdrew a long-contested plan that Charleston County Council had been considering, to create a construction-waste landfill in Adams Run.

While Heart of the Town LLC is listed as the seller, the owner of 65 acres of the 245-acre parcel is identified in county online land records as Restile LLC. It is a group of local investors comprised of Blackbaud Inc. founder Tony Bakker and former Blackbaud executives Gary Thornhill, Nigel Cooper and Tim Smith.

Previous requests for comment from the sellers of the land have been unsuccessful.

The $20 million purchase will use about $5 million in half-cent sales tax funds controlled by the town and more than $8 million in half-cent funds controlled by the PRC. The rest of the money will come from town and PRC funds.

Appraisals of the land have put it's value between $8 million and $30 million, with the higher amounts considering what the land would be worth if annexed into the town and used for residential development.

Mount Pleasant and PRC officials have said it's been hard to find affordable land in Mount Pleasant, and that they are comfortable with the price.