AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) — Aiken City Council members voted to approve a concept plan to turn the Old Aiken Hospital into a hotel or convention center.
The old hospital is a piece of history for the people who live in the area. Soon the historic building will be a distant memory.
“My grandfather used to work for the county, and that was the building they used for it,” said Christine Lawrence. “It just brings back old memories. I wish that they didn’t have to tear it down to do anything with it.”
For some people, the old hospital is a reminder of good times. And for others, it will be the beginning of a new era. WTC Investments LLC wants to turn the historic building into a hotel or convention center.
“That opens us to some of the empty buildings to maybe see some new life pop in and shore business that compliments that kind of thing like ours,” said Christian Carlisle.
Carlisle is the owner of Blue Collard catering service. He says the project will draw more businesses to Aiken.
“I would think it would do nothing but help us,” explained Carlisle. “It just brings more traffic and exposure to our business. And it is right on our doorstep.”
Some people believe some of Aiken’s history will be gone if a hotel or a convention center comes in the place of the abandoned building.
“I see both sides of the argument, but I will be in the corner of progress,” said Carlisle.
But the business owner believes the developer’s vision to bring new life to the property will open more opportunities for growth in the All America City.
“Things like this don’t take away from the town that I grew up in and love,” explained Carlisle. “But, it adds to it, it’s an asset.”
The assistant to the city manager says WTC Investments do not own the property yet. They still have to get approval from the county council before they can break ground.
Photojournalist: Will Baker