Update, noon April 21: The Finance Committee passed the incentives measure unanimously; it now heads to the full North Charleston City Council. The next council meeting is at 7 p.m. Thursday at City Hall.
North Charleston’s Finance Committee will meet later this week to consider a resolution giving up to $500,000 in incentives for the development of a grocery store at Shipwatch Square, according to the committee’s agenda (.pdf).
Winn-Dixie closed its store at the shopping center at the corner of McMillan and Rivers avenues in 2005. Since then, residents of the Chicora-Cherokee neighborhood have not had access to a nearby grocer, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has classified that area as a food desert.
Last year, the city requested proposals to purchase and redevelop the 17.96-acre property, at 3655 and 3685 Rivers Ave., and Greenville-based Appian Investments I LLC, an investment pool made up of NAI Earle Furman employees, was the only prospective buyer.
The company said it would build retail, office and multifamily residential units on the site, as well as a grocery store.
The name of the grocer has not been discussed publicly, and city spokesman Ryan Johnson declined to provide the grocer’s name.
On Thursday, the city’s Finance Committee will discuss the resolution, which is intended to offset the cost of rent for the grocer.
“A grocer has been identified who will open a full-service grocery store at Shipwatch Square as part of the larger development on the property,” the resolution says. “However, until the development project is completed, a full-service grocery store cannot be sustained by the current population demographic.”
If the grocery store, which must be at least 30,000 square feet, doesn’t stay open for the entire five years, the resolution says all money paid by the city must be repaid within six months of the store’s closing.
The resolution says incentive payments are expected to come from the general fund beginning in fiscal 2018, which begins in July of this year.
The city has already spent about $5.5 million — some of which was federal grant money — to demolish the buildings that once sat empty on the property and clean it up in preparation for the redevelopment.