MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - Patriots Point unveiled a major project for 60 acres of land overlooking the USS Yorktown and Charleston Harbor.
Patriots Point is partnering with Bennett Hospitality to build a seaside resort, with attractions that will turn the area into a new destination.
"It was important to me to try and figure out a way to encourage locals who live in Mt. Pleasant, downtown, North Charleston, James Island to come here, other than to go to the Yorktown," said Michael Bennett, owner of Bennett Hospitality.
Bennett Hospitality has signed a 99-year lease with Patriots Point Development Authority. The Charleston developer says he's excited and humbled to take on the huge project in Mount Pleasant.
While Bennett builds the resort, he'll be paying rent. That's different for Bennett. The developer is well known for buying prime real estate, building on it and never selling it.
"I normally would not build this many buildings on leased land, but since the state of South Carolina is my landlord and I'm a born and raised South Carolinian, I was happy to lease this property," said Bennett.
The lease will make an estimated $50 million for Patriots Point over the first 25 years. The money that will go towards upkeep and restoration of the maritime museum and it's fleet of historic warships and aircraft.
Bennett says he expects the seaside resort to be finished in the first 15 years of the lease, costing around $400 million to construct.
The project centers around a massive hotel, with at least 200 rooms, which Bennett affectionately is calling the "Grand Patriot."
Restaurants, bars, retails stores and even office space are also part of the plan. The area will be connected by a pedestrian promenade.
Bennett's face lights up when he's talking about one feature in particular.
"The music amphitheater on the grand lawn, over looking the harbor, we think is a great hook to get local people to want to come here and spend time at patriots point," said Bennett.
Bennett, owner of Charleston Music Hall in Downtown Charleston, says a new music venue will be hot spot of this property.
The development is projected to bring hundreds of jobs and nearly $3 million in tax revenue for the state every year.
Patriots Points is declaring it "the single most significant initiative at Patriots Point since its founding 40 years ago."
Now that the two parties have signed the lease, the plan goes to the state's Joint Bond Review Committee. It must also be approved by the SC State Fiscal Accountability Authority.
The town of Mount Pleasant also needs to sign off on it. This approval process can take up to two years.