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Real estate: County buys Front Street building for CCU

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

Georgetown County recently bought a commercial building in the 900 block of Front Street for $1.25 million. County Council members approved an eight-year lease with Coastal Carolina University this week that will repay the county in full.

The county bought the building housing Coastal Carolina’s marine studies program, including 180 feet of dock space for its research vessels, from Pecan Partners. Keith Hinson, who served on the Coastal Education Foundation, is the managing member of the group that bought the property in 2009 for $1.3 million, according to county records.

Council members approved leasing the building with addresses 901-909 Front St. for seven years at $147,000 and $74,000 for the eighth year. The Higher Education Fund in the county budget contains a line item “Direct Assistance to Coastal Carolina” at $147,000 a year.

County attorney Wes Bryant told council members the county came to terms with Coastal Carolina with the involvement of the South Carolina Budget and Control Board. The university did not state its reasons for leasing as opposed to purchasing the building, Bryant said later through the county spokeswoman.

The building’s two remaining commercial spaces have been vacated, Bryant said, and the leases of two upstairs apartments will expire in October and November. They will not be renewed in order to give Coastal Carolina use of the entire building once a solicitor’s office is relocated.

“It was a good deal for the county,” said County Council Member Jerry Oakley. “They will pay for the building.”

Coastal Carolina will use the facility for its Osher Lifelong Learning classes and lectures, according to spokeswoman Mona Prufer. Cost of renovations to the building have not been calculated.

The property is about half an acre. It has just over 5,000 square feet of retail space. The building dates to 1900, according to county tax records. They list its market value at $652,500.

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