Charleston County Council votes to consider option of settling lawsuit over Naval Hospital

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston County Council voted to authorize the option of settling its case over the Chicora Life Center.

"What we did tonight was to basically discuss all sorts of options and come out into the special session and simply say that we are authorizing the administrator and the attorney to try and resolve the case with the other side and the bankruptcy court's instruction and directions," Charleston County Council Chairman Vic Rawl said.

The Life Center was planned to be a Charleston County 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.

Rawl said the county is still under a lease with Chicora, and will remain that way until the pending litigation is settled.

"Right now we're under a lease according bankruptcy court and either we'll comply with the lease or we're going to do other things," said Rawl.

When it comes to how much the Charleston county tax payers will have to pay by the time the legal matter is resolved, he said wasn't sure of the amount but residents would be paying.

"The cost, who knows at this point in time whether we wind up spending more or less of citizen's tax payer's money than we should," said Rawl.

However Rawl said having county offices move into the old Naval Hospital would be to the county's benefit.

"The whole objective for the country's benefit was to find a location in North Charleston that had great access both for public transportation and parking and easily accessible to consolidate a great many social services as well as other services in one location to make it easier for the citizens and other people who utilize those services to have access to them. That concept is still viable and valid," said Rawl.

Although the council voted to open talks for a settlement, Rawl said the matter could still end up in court.

"We'll either wind up trying this case or settling this case. The attorney does have some parameters to try and settle this case. If he cannot reach that then
obviously, the court will make the decision to start the trial in bankruptcy court. I can't tell you when but I can tell you I wouldn't be surprised if it were this Monday," Rawl said.

Live 5 News reached out to Chicora Gardens Holdings, LLC, but did not hear back from them at the time of publication.

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