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Port headquarters sale moves toward closing

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Lowe Enterprises plans to open a hotel on the site where the ports authority's headquarters stands today. (Rendering/Lowe Enterprises)

The S.C. State Ports Authority’s headquarters is one step closer to being redeveloped into a hotel.

Lowe Enterprises, which has owned and operated Wild Dunes Resort on the Isle of Palms for 25 years, completed its 120-day due diligence and inspection period on the waterfront port property Dec. 9. The company plans to move forward with the purchase of the property, making its $1 million escrow deposit nonrefundable, per the agreement with the port.

Lowe entered into a contract with the port earlier this year to buy that site, at 176 Concord St., as well as 186 Concord St., where Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar sits. The restaurant has a lease with the port through 2024. The hotel would be built where the port offices stand currently.

The sale should close Jan. 4, ports authority CEO Jim Newsome said after a board meeting Wednesday. The port plans to relocate its office operations to Mount Pleasant near the Wando Welch Terminal off Long Point Road. Newsome said he wants employees to work closer to port activities.

The port has requested that the buyer lease the site back to the ports authority for 24 months while a new headquarters is built. Money from the sale will pay for the new office, Newsome said. The sale price is not yet public.

The city has approved a rezoning of the site to a 56/30V zoning, which typically prohibits retail shops, restaurants or other uses on the ground floor, though parking is often excepted.

If owners of Zone V buildings add a public asset around the building, such as a green space, they can either add the equivalent amount of street-level space on the roof or build on 25% of the roof area.

“Lowe Enterprises intends to close on the property early January 2017 and looks forward to continuing its pursuit to redevelop the property into a full-service, world-class hotel that complements the surrounding neighborhood and maximizes the public’s access to the waterfront through the continuation of Waterfront Park,” Lowe Enterprises said in a news release.

Reach Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119.

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