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Site of former Baker Hospital to become public park
Published:
2/17/2015 4:37:29 PM

The Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission (CCPRC) now has a future park site on the Charleston Peninsula. The donation of the 57-acre property was facilitated by local and Atlanta-based real estate teams and led by funding support from Charleston residents, Michael and Jenny Messner, and Michael’s business partner Paul Shiverick and his wife Betsy.

Locally known as the site of the former Baker Hospital, the previous owner of the property was Ashley II of Charleston, LLC. The property is located just south Cosgrove Avenue, and west of I-26 on the Ashley River – a unique location in the center of the Peninsula south of I-526.

“This new park is being made possible due to the generosity of Messners and Shivericks and their partners. We also credit Magnolia/ARC Lender’s commitment to listening and responding to the greater community’s needs,” said Tom O’Rourke, CCPRC executive director. Yukon Property Consultants of Atlanta facilitated the transaction, a role they have performed throughout the Southeast for numerous conservation projects, including CCPRC’s Stono River County Park site in December 2012. “Neither the Stono River Park nor the new Baker Park acquisition required direct tax payer support,” reported Yukon spokesman, Walter Hall.

Magnolia/ARC Lender, LLC, which held the note on the property, participated in the sale by tapping its network of community and business contacts after North Charleston City Council expressed a desire to create a public park on the site. Magnolia/ARC Lender is a company whose members include MWV, Branch Properties, LLC, and Pope & Land Enterprises, Inc.

“We looked at several viable options for the property, including a business park,” said Kenneth T. Seeger, president of MWV Community Development and Land Management. “For over a year we worked closely with the surrounding businesses and neighbors to seek input into the development plan. Ultimately, what the community said they wanted was a riverfront park.”

CC&T Real Estate Services President Robert L. Clement, III, who brokered the transaction, said the challenge was finding a way to make the economics of a park feasible while meeting the needs of both the land owner and its lender. “We were fortunate enough to be able to facilitate a deal to make the community’s vision a reality,” Clement said. “The park will be a lasting legacy that Charleston will have forever.”

Michael Messner, whose wife Jenny sits on the Board of Charleston Parks Conservancy, says about the effort, “Great cities have great parks. As Charleston grows, it is important that we include quality parks as part of our growing infrastructure. This property can be a major step toward a park-rich Peninsula. The Shivericks and the Messners are pleased to be able to make the property available for public enjoyment.”

Tom O’Rourke, of CCPRC, would like to explore the option of providing much-needed sports fields for the community, easily accessible from Downtown, West Ashley, North Charleston and Mount Pleasant. At the same time, the park will be designed to be an attractive oasis with a traditional park-like feel and include jogging trails, picnic facilities, and other amenities. CCPRC will be reaching out to community partners for support to help design and develop the park.

For future updates about this park, please visit www.CharlestonCountyParks.com.
 

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