NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - North Charleston is looking for a new buyer for the vacant lot across from the old Navy hospital on Rivers Avenue.
The city has spent $4.2 million to demolish and clean up the property that used to sit on Shipwatch Square. The once-booming shopping center had the area's first Belk and Charleston largest movie theater at the time. As people moved away from the area and the naval base closed down, the center went out of business and the city was left with an empty lot.
A developer, Chicora Gardens Holdings LLC was in talks to buy the property for that same $4.2 million price tag, but asked the city if they could have till December 14 to make a decision. The city declined and the developer backed out saying there were environmental concerns about the property.
Businesses owners and residents in the area say they just hope something happens soon.
"Now we have a vacant field, so I've been anxious to see something happen there that would benefit this neighborhood," Byron Williams, who has a medical practice across the street from the lot, said. "I just think having a nice shopping center there and a facility like the navy hospital, that would be occupied, is obviously going to spin off into other properties in the neighborhood."
"If you're going to have a Tanger mall, and you're going to have all that stuff over there, have something here for the people who are not as fortunate," Ed Jenkins, who's worked across the street from the lot for 30 years, said. "They can have easy access to food and easy access to get their medicine and all that kind of stuff."
Chicora Gardens Holdings LLC, which backed out of the deal, did buy the navy hospital last month for $5 million. That building will hold county and DHEC offices.