Charleston officials intend to move forward with a plan to build commercial space and downtown housing on the site of the old Holley Hotel on Quarrier Street, even without a grant to help fund the project.
City Manager David Molgaard came up with the idea to construct a building with commercial space on the ground floor and 40 to 60 apartments on the upper levels.
The city applied for a grant from the Bloomberg Foundation to help fund the project.
That organization, named after New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, awards one $5 million grant and four $1 million grants to cities that come up with innovative ideas to improve their communities.
Charleston leaders learned earlier this month that they were not among the 20 finalists selected for the grants. But Molgaard doesn't believe that decision dooms the project.
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Partnership with company, bonds could help pay for construction
"We decided early on that we would start moving on the project and not wait and see what happened with the grants," he said. "Nothing along those lines has changed."
Mayor Danny Jones also continues to support the plan.
"We're going to develop that property one way or the other," Jones said about the lot on Quarrier Street where the hotel used to sit. "I think we can come up with a way to make this work."
The idea to build the structure, which would be located next to the Quarrier Diner, does hinge on whether area employers would be willing to subsidize employees' rent.
Molgaard hopes businesses will be willing to provide a $10,000 annual subsidy per employee for three years to help fund the project. The employee would be asked to pay rent at a "fair market value," he said.
Rent likely would be about $700 per month, Molgaard said during an earlier interview.
Half of the annual subsidy could be used to pay for the debt service to construct the building, as well as maintenance for the structure.