Beaufort County Sheriff's Office deputies patrolling the southern part of the county will have a new, permanent home on Hilton Head Island.
Hilton Head Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday to buy a medical office building off William Hilton Parkway next to Palmetto Dunes for use as headquarters for the Sheriff's Office Southern Enforcement Branch.
"We are all excited at the (sheriff's office) that we will have a home on Hilton Head Island," Sheriff P.J. Tanner said Tuesday of the 23,500-square-foot Lifespan Building at 58 Shelter Cove Lane. The building is owned by CRM Mid-Atlantic Properties LLC of Atlanta. The town expects to pay $2.15 million for the building.
"We're out of room. We have no parking. It's not in a good location and it's an old building," Tanner said in February of the current facility at 7 Lagoon.
The new building has a number of advantages, Tanner said: Its size provides opportunities to expand operations; it is centrally located with easy access to the island's main thoroughfare; it has more than three times the parking of the current site; and it would require little renovation. The building can also withstand 135-mile-per-hour, hurricane-force winds and is flood-proofed, town manager Steve Riley said.
Riley said the town will issue a bond to pay for the building, which currently houses several tenants in separate suites. The sheriff's office will be the primary tenant, and, as other tenant's leases expire, the town will look at other uses for the space. One possibility includes relocating the island's senior center there, Riley said.
The Lagoon Road site has less than 13,000 square feet and costs the Sheriff's Office $130,671 in yearly rent. The lease on that building, which was built in 1983, runs through Aug. 31.
The county would pay the same amount for the new space, with the town contributing about $73,000.
Those payments will now be used to repay the bond, Riley said.
Charter 1 Commercial Realty had listed the Lifespan Building's sale price at $3.2 million. Built in 2005, it last sold for $3.65 million in June and was valued at about $5.6 million last year, according to online Beaufort County property records.
The town and Sheriff's Office have tried for several years to find space on the island for a law enforcement center.
"Prior negotiations have always stalled so we are particularly happy that we have brought this to a successful conclusion," Mayor Drew Laughlin said.
A date for the move has not been set.
Follow reporter Tom Barton at twitter.com/EyeOnHiltonHead