AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) — A huge redevelopment project in Aiken could be on hold.
“I think Aiken needs to keep what it’s got. It’s a great place for people to come visit,” Robert Harte told NewsChannel 6’s Aiken Bureau Chief Shawn Cabbagestalk. “The public is really paying attention and that’s a positive, we have a tremendous piece of property here that needs to be redeveloped,” chairman of the Aiken Municipal Development Commission Keith Wood added.
Project Pascalis – a 75-million-dollar project to revitalize downtown Aiken — may be coming to an end.
“We decided to file a motion or proposed a motion to stop project Project Pascalis to also make the agreement with the developer, null and void, and also amend and or redo the redevelopment plan,” Wood shared.
Aiken Municipal Development Commission stopped the project after a three-hour executive session.
“That enables our legal counsel to do some additional due diligence to make sure we’re moving forward in the right manner,” he added.
Community opposition to the plan includes several lawsuits and a grassroots effort called “Stop Project Pascalis.”
“The whole process is to ensure we’re following the South Carolina redevelopment law. that’s the basis for the lawsuit that was filed on the fifth. So we’re trying to ensure that that process was followed, to the law. it is our intent,” Wood said.
If the plans move forward, several historic buildings will be demolished, replacing them with a hotel, apartments, and a parking garage.
“The demolition was part of the process that the developer was going through with the and design review board. It was tied to the agreement that we have. If we decide to stop that project, then the agreement to demolish the hotel will be reviewed again,” he added. “I’m against anything that involves the building of a structure that’s more than three stories high. I think it would change the character of Aiken,” Harte said.
There is no date to let developers know the city’s plans to move forward. A vote on whether to stop the project will be held the week of Sept. 26.
If it fails, “We’ll start the process over again. Which means that we’ll look at what’s going to be the scope of the new potential discussions we’re gonna have with developers and the process moving forward,” Wood shared.
If the commission votes during the week of Sept. 26, it’ll be the second time an effort to redevelop Hotel Aiken has failed.
The Renaissance Project also failed.