With soil sample results in hand showing it's possible to build a large structure on the Beaufort Downtown Marina parking lot, the city's Redevelopment Commission is set to begin courting interested developers.
An informational package, which will be sent to developers locally, regionally and nationally, is being prepared, according to Julie Franklin of the city's Office of Civic Investment.
"The intent is that we're going to be sending this out to as broad of an audience as we can," she said during Thursday's commission meeting.
The package will include information on Beaufort and the marina site, ongoing and recent development projects in the area and goals for the marina. Franklin said the commission expects to receive letters and information in return on development firms' previous projects.
The commission will review those responses and select a handful to continue talking with about the marina.
Last fall, the city of Beaufort approved adding a water sports complex of between 3,000 to 7,000 feet to the marina parking lot. What is actually built, however, will depend on the chosen developer's plans. Commission chairman Jon Verity has said that since the project will be completed and paid for by a private company, the developer must also find the sports complex -- or an alternative -- a viable idea.
Mayor Billy Keyserling has also said he will not approve construction of a large building in the parking lot that would destroy hundreds of parking spaces until another parking solution is found. Options include the construction of a parking garage.
Before requesting information from developers, the commission decided to test the soil beneath the parking lot because it, like the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park it abuts, was filled in with various materials to create a level surface. How suitable those materials are to supporting a heavy building is a concern.
Commissioner Alan Dechovitz said the soil samples show "some challenges, but nothing insurmountable."
The study results will be part of the package the city sends as it solicits letters of interests.
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.