City seeks offers for downtown site
With three developers showing interest, the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority will begin requesting proposals for projects on the site of the old Holley Hotel property on Quarrier Street.
Board members voted to allow Executive Director Jim Edwards to request proposals from developers during a regularly scheduled meeting Wednesday.
Edwards said he has received some preliminary interest in the property city leaders have strived so hard to redevelop.
"We'll get the ad out for the request for proposals before April is over," he said.
The agency likely will give developers 30 days to respond.
"We think the time is right, and we need to get that property on the market," Edwards said.
Edwards would not identify the three companies that have expressed interest in the property. However, he said they were experienced companies with "plenty on their resumes."
All three are based outside Charleston, Edwards said.
"They're all commercial developers who do a mixture of retail and office space and possibly even some residential," he said.
Edwards addressed City Manager David Molgaard's proposal for the property.
Molgaard has proposed it be used for housing for young professionals who want to live downtown. The project would require subsidies from the residents' employers to keep rents affordable, he has said.
Charleston city leaders may submit a proposal for the property or that project may be undertaken somewhere else in the city, Edwards said.
Mayor Danny Jones, who has made developing the old Holley Hotel property his mission, was not upset by the authority board's decision to begin seeking proposals for the plot.
Like Edwards, Jones said the city could construct housing on the parcel if the developers' projects fall through.
"And the city has other pieces of property we could use for that project," Jones said of the employer-subsidized housing. "I think everything is going to be fine."
The authority purchased the property for $729,000 in the early 1990s. The hotel, which had fallen on hard times, was demolished in 1993.
The lot has been vacant ever since.
It has been appraised at $990,000, Edwards said.
However, the city may turn the property over to a developer for a nominal amount to get a project underway, he said.
The price developers are willing to pay will be included in their proposals, Edwards said.