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Litchfield Exchange: County buys retail mall for offices
By Jason Lesley
Georgetown County Council agreed to purchase the mall at Litchfield Exchange for two magistrates’ offices and a sheriff’s office after discussing the deal for an hour behind closed doors Tuesday.
The county will pay $600,000 along with closing costs for the 30,000 square foot facility in Litchfield on Highway 17 behind Applewood Pancake House.
County Administrator Sel Hemingway said the county would be acquiring 30,000 square feet of space for the price of constructing 10,000. The county’s Capital Improvement Plan calls for new facilities for magistrates and the sheriff’s office. Present facilities on Parkersville Road were involved in a land swap with Mount Zion Baptist Church to finish the Waccamaw Regional Recreation Center.
Hemingway said the purchase would provide space for “unforeseen needs for services” on the Waccamaw Neck.
The county’s plans involve the front portion of the exchange’s mall where Grace Church has rented three spaces for its children’s program.
Council Member Jerry Oakley said the remaining tenants will be allowed to stay through the length of their leases and will be addressed one at a time. The Chocolate and Coffee House, Bella Restaurant, Duplicates Printing and Jim Dyson’s art studio occupy the rear of the mall’s units.
The former ArtWorks space is being used to store signs and other paraphernalia for Coastal Carolina University’s Lifelong Learning program. The university is moving to space beside the Bi-Lo grocery store after determining that renovation of Litchfield Exchange for its use was going to be too costly, according to director Linda Ketron.
“We had planned on building,” Oakley said. “This gives us the luxury or more space for less money. Over time, no doubt, it will be needed and in the short term it will be for rent.”