Beaufort News

Craft beer, custom furniture or...something else. Port Royal property ready for new use

Port Royal officials will soon decide whether the town will be getting a microbrewery, a new woodworking business or something else as part of a pending deal for a prominent downtown building.

The town is weighing three proposals to buy the Shed, a large industrial building it owns downtown on the main thoroughfare of Paris Avenue. Residents play pickleball in the space, and the expansive concrete floors and stage allow for indoor events.

Town Hall and a variety of small shops and restaurants are nearby, as is the mostly vacant former port terminal in the hands of private developers.

The aging building continues to cost the town as the list of maintenance needs is piling up. Town leaders are ready to shift the property onto the tax rolls and bring a new activity to an area where redevelopment efforts are gaining momentum.

After a public request for proposals for the building, the town is weighing three offers. While the dollar amounts are being kept secret for now, the proposals include a microbrewery, a woodworking business and a deal to give developers of the former Port of Port Royal the Shed in a swap for property to be determined.

The offers are from:

  • Perrin Woodworking, a Charleston-based business that makes custom furniture and cabinetry.
  • Alex Velasco and Alison Evans, a Lady’s Island couple who want to open a microbrewery and restaurant serving craft beers and pizza.
  • Grey Ghost Properties, developers of the Port of Port Royal who are talking with the town about swapping the Shed for another piece of a 51-acre waterfront property slated for restaurants, shops and homes.

Town Council tabled a potential vote on a deal Wednesday night to allow more time to consider the options.

“Their decision is also predicated on the reuse of the building, not just the price,” town manager Van Willis said. “What’s more important to us is to see it put back in the rotation and being productive.”

The town bought the 6,000 square-foot building in 2011 for $525,000 and has used the property as an event and recreation space. The building could need about $50,000 to $60,000 in upgrades and is being sold as is, town officials have said.

The most recent appraisal, which included The Shed, the building behind it and adjacent undeveloped lots — valued the property at $1.1 million. The deal being considered is only for warehouse and nearby greenspace.

Among the potential bargaining chips for developers is marshfront property on the road to Sands Beach, a public boat landing and boardwalk. Elevated beach houses have been proposed for the land.

Environmental groups raised concerns about the plans this year, citing the property’s vulnerability to water from extreme high tides, storm surge and rising sea levels.

Stephen Fastenau covers northern Beaufort County as a reporter for The Beaufort Gazette and The Island Packet, where he has worked since 2010 and been recognized with state and national awards. He studied journalism and political science at the University of South Carolina in Columbia and lives in Beaufort.
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