GOING ONCE, GOING TWICE, GOING … FOUR TIMES?
Efforts by the S.C. State Ports Authority (SCSPA) to unload one of its shuttered facilities have once again fallen through – proving just how difficult it is for governments to unload surplus property in a depressed real estate market.
The Port of Port Royal – a facility which was costing the state more to operate than it was making – was shuttered in 2004. Since then there have been three failed efforts to purchase the property, most recently a $17 million deal that was approved in 2011. Unfortunately for taxpayers the development group making that offer was unable to secure financing – meaning that the SCSPA will have to put the property on the market for the fourth time.
“This property will be immediately prepared for re-marketing, and an updated appraisal will be performed in view of several positive changes on the site that have occurred over the past two years,” a statement from the agency noted.
It also means that $4.5 million in local tax hikes related to the development of this property are once again on hold … which is probably a good thing.
This property has been a political football ever since former S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford identified it during his 2002 campaign as an example of government waste – and an asset that needed to be privatized.
For years, Sanford was personally engaged in the sale and disposition of this property – which is located not far from his Lowcountry plantation. In fact he narrowly dodged a major scandal in 2008 when a developer he accused of being a “womanizer” (how ironic is that?) failed to come up with the money required to purchase it.
Sanford also stood in the way of plans for the property that did not incorporate a 10-acre waterfront park.