Aiken moves forward on downtown hotel, conference center
AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - In a bid to revitalize downtown, the Aiken Municipal Development Commission is moving forward on plans to acquire seven parcels to host a full-amenity hotel, conference center, multi-family housing and parking garage.
Leaders want to be able to host regional conferences in the hotel and conference center on a redeveloped site bounded by Laurens Street Southwest, Richland Avenue and Newberry Street.
The commission voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of the plan by buy the parcels for about $9.6 million. The City Council had already voted to issue bonds for the acquisition.
The commission is negotiating with several private developers and investors to redevelop the site.
The commission says it believes control is needed over this “critical portion of downtown suffering from disuse and deterioration.”
“Acquisition of this property is a gigantic first step and precedent to the redevelopment of a significant portion of downtown,” the commission said in a news release, adding that it “plans to spur revitalization of downtown Aiken with private investment in an area that has been ignored and even avoided for many years by private investors.”
Redevelopment will address the health and safety concerns of abandoned buildings and is expected to significantly add to the city’s tax rolls.
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