In the end it was simply too good of an opportunity to pass on.
Berkeley County Council unanimously approved to purchase the vacant Food Lion building located next to the County Administration building at 1005 Highway 52 in Moncks Corner for $350,000.
According to Finance Committee Chairman Tim Callanan the purchase price will come out of the county’s fund balance and will be reimbursed as part of the 2014-2015 budget.
Council learned of the vacant building’s potential sale during its Jan. 13 Land Use committee meeting.
The notice of sale was sent out in December when council was on holiday recess.
Council asked for and received a two-week extension to study purchase options and voted unanimously to approve the purchase on Monday night.
“It was an opportunity,” said Supervisor Dan Davis. “The purchase of such a structure was part of the county’s Facilities Use Plan where county expansion would see a need down the road.”
Callanan said the $350,000 purchase price would come from the fund balance.
“Fund balance funds will be reimbursed as part of the upcoming budget,” he said. “The Facilities Use Plan was discuss and this building plan is right in line with that.”
The cost to retrofit the building should fall in line with the approximate cost to retrofit the current county administration building from when it housed K-Mart, in the ballpark of about $110 per square foot.
“We can purchase the building now, but to come up with the necessary funds to retrofit the building it’s going to have to come in a general obligations bond down the road,” he said.
The Facilities Use Plan calls for the eventual relocation of the Voter’s Registration and Elections office and the Purchasing Department.
County Engineer Frank Carson said the Food Lion building fit the county’s office needs: “This is an opportunity. If not doing it now the only certain date is 20 years from now. The Facilities Use Plan included the specific departments relocating. The long-range plan would be such that the library next door would eventually need to be relocated.”
Carson added that the vacant building was in decent shape.
“The advantage is it has not been vacant for that long,” he said. “It’s about what you would expect from a building that’s not been occupied. There is some evidence of mildew and some leakage, and some of the electrical isn’t up to code, but it’s solid enough to do what we need to do.”
The Food Lion, which closed in 2012, has been cleared to the walls.
“It’s a box right now much like the old K-Mart was,” Carson said. “We’re going to have to build our building within the confines of that space.”
No timetable has been given for remodeling of the building.