Mar
17

Beaufort – Bladen, King Street Developments Shelved

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Bladen, King Street Developments Shelved

March 17, 2008

By BRANDON HONIG

The vacant Beaufort County jail on King Street and the former Coastal Contractors property on Bladen Street both may be available again, after plans for their development were put aside.

Steve Tully and John Trask III bought the 2.77-acre Coastal Contractors site in 2004, after the city received a $300,000 grant for a renovation project on Bladen Street that promised to revitalize the area and raise property values. In the heart of the renovated area, they designed a development called Midtown that would add homes, an outdoor plaza and businesses such as a neighborhood grocery store.

But shortly after the city finally began its streetscape project in January, now with a price tag of $800,000, Trask and Tully put their property up for sale. With a slumping real estate market, Trask said, developing Midtown would be too risky.

“We don’t feel the time is right for us to develop it,” he said Thursday. “Someone else with deeper pockets might feel differently.”

Trask added that if the market turns around, he and Tully would again look at developing Midtown. For now, it’s on the market for $3.3 million.

A block to the southeast, the Beaufort County jail has sat empty since 1992, but it appeared ready for a revival in May when Bluffton-based partnership Gumbo Limbo bought the 0.87-acre property from the county for $511,142. Gumbo Limbo principal Wyatt Pringle said at the time that condominiums or town houses might be built on the property, but no definite plans had been set.

Any development on the site would need to include preservation of the 7,775-square-foot, white, art deco jail building. The structure was built in 1938 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, preventing any major changes to the structure’s exterior.

Pringle said Monday that his group is considering putting the jail property back on the market.

“We’ve just got a lot of other projects right now in front of us in Beaufort County,” he said. “We still might develop (the jail site). We just don’t know yet.”

Pringle did not identify any other Gumbo Limbo projects in Beaufort County.

He noted that the jail property, near the corner of King and Monson streets, could become more valuable as Bladen Street is revamped.

“That piece of land certainly would fit in well with the Bladen Street area, especially if someone wanted to come in and do something with Trask and Tully,” he said.

Trask said he and Tully had not thought about incorporating the jail property into Midtown.

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