Old North Charleston City Hall to be leased

The former North Charleston City Hall building.

North Charleston leaders have decided to lease out the old City Hall building in a 20-year agreement that will pay the city at least $324,000 a year.

The contract settles the immediate future of the building which has been mostly vacant since the new City Hall opened last summer.

In a meeting Thursday, officials approved awarding the lease to a group calling itself 2401 Mall Drive LLC. The same group was behind the renovation of the old Montgomery Ward building in North Charleston, into what would become the Verizon Wireless building.

The same management team also built the structure that would become the new City Hall.

Meyer, Kapp and Associates will be lead leasing agent, Robert Behringer, managing member for 2401 Mall Drive, said in a letter to the city.

Ray Anderson, assistant to Mayor Keith Summey, said the city will maintain the outside of the building while the leasing company will control the interior, possibly to even gut parts of it to attract tenants. It was built in 1979.

Summey was not present at Thursday's City Council Finance Committee meeting, but Councilman Kurt Taylor said the deal is good for the city.

"It will mean the building will be used and it will provide a revenue stream for us," he said.

A provision of the lease is that rent increases will go up 2.5 percent every five years. The city will keep its city fleet gas pumps operating at the site.

Three other companies that showed interest in the property opted against applying, city documents indicate.