Beaufort Memorial seeks to demolish or move house to make way for parking, park

emoody@beaufortgazette.com

February 13, 2014 

Beaufort Memorial Hospital is applying to the city of Beaufort's Historic District review board to get permission to demolish a house that is located in the middle of their campus on Ribaut Road in Beaufort.

DELAYNA EARLEY — Staff photo Buy Photo

The 900 block of Ribaut Road was once a residential area, but over time, it has been developed for commercial and health care purposes.

Except for one house.

Until October, 986 Ribaut Road was a residence.

But now it's unoccupied, and Beaufort Memorial Hospital wants to turn the land under the house into green space and parking for its Medical and Administrative Center that opened last spring, said hospital president and CEO Rick Toomey.

The hospital purchased the house in September for $320,000, according to Beaufort County property records. The hospital has received approval from the city of Beaufort's Historic District Review Board to demolish the home if it cannot be moved and reused.

Toomey has offered the structure to LowCountry Habitat for Humanity. Habitat executive director Brenda Dooley said she'll take a look at the 1,372-square-foot house but isn't sure what her organization could do with it.

"My next step is I have to see the house," Dooley said Thursday. "I actually have to walk through it and see what's there."

Although she didn't have estimates available, Dooley said it would be expensive to move the home, and Habitat does not have property where it could be placed.

She is interested, however, in salvaging the doors, windows, floors, hardware and other parts for sale at Habitat's ReSale Store. The store's proceeds go toward supporting the organization's mission of providing homes for low-income families.

Habitat last moved a house shortly after Dooley joined the organization about eight years ago, she said. It was a two-bedroom cottage, and one of Habitat's recipients had property it could go on. She did not know how much that move cost.

Toomey said the schedule for the project is "flexible," but ideally, the house would be removed in a few months. The large trees on the front lawn would remain, and most of the 0.36-acre site would be left open since there are no immediate plans to build there, he said.

Eight handicapped-parking spaces and 12 regular ones could go in space occupied by a garage and carport behind the house, Toomey said. A rear driveway would connect to current parking.

The house is listed in the Beaufort County Historic Sites Survey, circa 1945, and is subject to review by the city's Historic District Review Board, even though it is not within the Beaufort Downtown Historic District.

The Historic Beaufort Foundation did not object Wednesday to the demolition when the review board voted.

"We have a good supply of houses in Beaufort of that vintage and design," foundation executive director Maxine Lutz said.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

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