Chicora Life Center reacts to termination of Charleston Co. lease

Chicora Life Center reacts to termination of Charleston Co. lease
Letter to Charleston County Official (Source: Chicora Life Center)
Letter to Charleston County Official (Source: Chicora Life Center)
Rendering of Chicora Life Center (Source: North Charleston)
Rendering of Chicora Life Center (Source: North Charleston)

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Chicora Life Center plans to send a letter to Charleston County officials following Tuesday's vote to terminate their lease with the company.

Tuesday, County Council voted 5-3 to end the lease agreement for the Chicora Life Center which was planned to be a social service hub at the former Naval Hospital off Rivers Avenue in North Charleston.

The Life Center, owned by Chicora Gardens Holdings, LLC, features almost 400,000 square feet of Class A medical office, meeting, retail and public space.

County offices like the Charleston County Vital Records and Charleston County Coroner's Office were expected to go into the building.

The Tuesday night motion was made to terminate the lease due to Chicora failing to have the building ready for occupancy by set deadlines and not having the necessary licenses available.

Wednesday, Douglas Durbano, Manager of Chicora Life Center, L.C. (CLC) stated Charleston County does not have a claim for breach which could justify its termination of the Lease.

In the letter Dubrano said, "Charleston County… previously received the following: 1. Notice of substantial completion, 2. Temporary certificate of occupancy, 3. Certificates of completion, 4. Certificate of occupancy, 5. Licensing approval 6. Billings for rental amounts."

The letter goes on to say Charleston County has refused to make payment under the Lease.

CLC's is now demanding the County pay the monthly rental owed to the Lease (within 30 days), and to designate a person with authority to act in behalf of the County to "to negotiate in good faith to determine a mutually agreed upon amount over the Budget Cap and the respective financial obligations of the Parties for the same."

Durbano said if the County comply with the demands, or takes another action, the company will have "no alternative but to file a complaint in a court of competent jurisdiction and seek any and all legal remedies."

Wednesday morning Charleston County Chairman Elliott Summey declined to comment about the vote for termination made Tuesday night.

Following the initial recommendation for the termination at the Finance Committee Thursday, Summey said, "The County remains committed to finding a location for these services. We're leaving all options on the table."

In a second motion made Tuesday night council unanimously voted to have the County Administrator and County Attorney get in contact with the owner of the building, who is interested in selling the property.

The motion reads they will bring back all the information on the discussions that happen and options available in the project.

During discussion Tuesday night, council members discussed the option of possibly buying the building for the County and operating itself.

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