By Lauren Ratcliffe
Published Dec. 17, 2012
The city of North Charleston is preparing for an aging population by selling two parcels of land to create park space, a grocery store and senior living.
In October, the city purchased the former Charleston naval hospital from the federal government via online auction through the General Services Administration. The property at 3600 Rivers Ave. includes the 10-story hospital, barracks and 23 acres of property and was purchased for $2 million.
The city had also purchased and cleared the former Shipyard Square shopping center, at a cost of $4.2 million.
Chicora Gardens Holdings LLC is purchasing the two plots for $9.2 million and could present a plan for development to the city as early as Dec. 20.
Steve Dudash, of the North Charleston engineering firm Davis & Floyd, said the concept would be modeled off of Central Park in New York. Senior living, medical facilities, restaurants and the grocery store will all have access to the green spaces.
“I call it the big rock in the small pond,” he said. “The ripple effect and transformative effect this could have on the community is outstanding.”
No demolition is slated for the property, as the city has already cleared the site for the grocery store. North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said the developers are looking to revitalize and reuse the hospital and barracks, but that plans could change as the property is further evaluated.
Summey said with the aging population in the area, this property could serve as an example of development serving the evolving needs of a community.
“There is not one location in this area of S.C. where a senior adult can move into an apartment complex at 55 (years old) and as they need more assistance move into assisted living,” he said.
Summey said North Charleston City Council has already reviewed plans and should approve the contract once it is presented Dec. 20.