North Charleston hopes the construction of a new social services hub across from the former Navy Hospital will spark development in an underserved area of the city and possibly lead to a much-needed grocery store.
The 175,000 square foot, three-story health care and office facility will consolidate local and state operations into one location, Charleston County Councilman Teddie E. Pryor said at the groundbreaking on Dec. 4. The Rivers Avenue facility will be more centralized to residents in need of services.
Plans include a CARTA hub, North Charleston police substation, a 50-bed inpatient facility, a library and more, including parking.
Construction is expected to be completed by 2022.
“This new hub will be a great opportunity to provide much needed services in a convenient centralized location for our most vulnerable citizens,” Charleston County Council Chairman Elliott Summey said. “This project has been in the works for a long time, and once complete, this campus will bring a sense of place and energy the south end of North Charleston needs.”
Additional services for the hub, located between McMillan Avenue and Pine Avenue, will include:
• S.C. Department of Health clinics, administrative offices and vital records
Pryor said the hub has been a longtime coming and its construction could prove to be a catalyst for that grocery store after all.
“I’m so elated because I think this is a comeback for the area. This is a start. Everyone was trying to get a grocery store in here but the numbers didn’t match,” he said. “But I think now is a good time to re-look at those numbers once this is done. People will need places to eat, daycare, places to shop. This is the beginning of the revitalization of the south area.”
North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey understands the need and said the city will continue to work on bringing a grocery store back and hopes the hub spurs growth and activity in the area.
“This is going to be an opportunity as I see it to renourish the ground that we’re standing on and sitting on today,” he said. “That spinoff that’s going to come off it is going to be something that’s going to really bring vitality back to this area so we can have better product and better service for the citizens that still live here.”