NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - An offer to buy the old Naval Hospital property is being debated by Charleston County council members.
The North Charleston building has already cost taxpayers $33 million to settle a lawsuit with a developer.
Now, the council is questioning whether it is better to sell the property or demolish it.
The main offer being considered comes from developer and State Rep. William Cogswell (R- Charleston). His company, WECCO Development, is known for redeveloping the old Cigar Factory in downtown Charleston and the oldGarco Mill.
The amount of money offered for the hospital property has not been disclosed, but council members can’t agree on whether or not it’s a good idea.
“When we sell this building to this developer, it’s going to bring on more development and the poor people are gone,” said Charleston County council member Henry Darby. "It not only hurts African-Americans, but poor white folk too.
Other council members argue that this deal is one that the county needs for an economic development boost to the area.
“Everyone knows we’ve got a lot of money tied up in the building," said council member Victor Rawl. "However, anyone that can upgrade to the area, and when I say upgrade, I mean workforce, housing, low income, housing, commerce, and stuff like retail and commercial, and a grocery store in the area.”
The county has estimated it would take about $66 million to redevelop the property, and voted to tear it down in February, which would cost $6 million. They then planned on building new offices for county social services.
Demolition was set to begin on the old naval hospital this month, but Charleston County council voted to delay knocking the building down on Tuesday because of negotiations with perspective buyers.
A portion of the property not included in the sale will be used as a bus rapid transit line.
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