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The former Charleston Naval Hospital on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018. Wade Spees/Staff

Only two companies bid on the former Charleston Naval Hospital, and Charleston County is not releasing how much money the firms are willing to pay for what fell apart in a financial fiasco.

The county's failed redevelopment project — the 10-story building at Rivers and McMillan avenues in North Charleston — could cost taxpayers more than $35 million.

CBRE of Charleston and PaceBook and Associates of Albany, Georgia, responded to the county's request for proposals by the Friday deadline.

CBRE is a global real estate firm that bid on behalf of a client. There was no information online about PaceBook and Associates.

The county said that the firms' bids would remain sealed until the process is complete, said Barrett Tolbert, director of county Contracts and Procurement.

"If council decides to not move forward with the sale of property, proposals will be returned, and the county may not release any information," he said.

S.C. Press Association attorney Jay Bender disagreed.

“If you have a bid, it’s a public process," said Bender, who also represents The Post and Courier.

The Navy hospital debacle began in 2012, when North Charleston purchased the abandoned site for $2 million from the federal government. Chicora Gardens, a development group that included Donald Trump Jr., bought the 10-story building for $5 million and in 2014 agreed to renovate and lease three floors of the building to the county for $1.8 million annually.

The renovation went awry as contractors sued developers for unpaid bills and the work dragged on. The county backed out of the lease in 2016.

County plans to transform the former 175-bed hospital that served Charleston's Naval Base into a social services hub that would help revitalize North Charleston's South end soon dissipated. 

Chicora Gardens' lender foreclosed on the building. The developer sued Charleston County, forcing the county to settle for $33 million. The county took title to the property last year and also spent several million on maintenance and consultants.

After the county estimated it would cost $66 million to refurbish the 45-year-old building, County Council gave up on renovation efforts and agreed to consider constructing a new building — possibly on the same property.

The 24-acre property is large enough that the county could sell the hospital and still build new offices on the site. The site includes 900 parking spaces and a 71-room former military barracks. 

County officials estimated they could build a class-A office facility for $30 million.

The county could also use funds after selling the property to buy another facility, like the vacant 150,000-square foot Verizon Center which is up for sale.

An earlier version of this story said that CBRE bid on the property. CBRE bid on behalf of a client for the property.

Follow Rickey Dennis on Twitter @RCDJunior.