Aiken picks potential redeveloper for hotel, conference center

‘It’s shocking news for me’: local business owner reacts to downtown Aiken revitalization plan
Published: Dec. 4, 2021 at 5:34 PM EST
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Aiken Municipal Development Commission has selected the group it wants to work with to redevelop a key block of downtown.

In a bid to revitalize downtown, the commission recently moved 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 has selected RPM Development Partners, LLC, a team led by Raines Development, as the group it wants to negotiate with for the business to redevelop the site.

The commission and RPM have until summer 2022 to come to terms on a mutually beneficial master development agreement.

The agreement will include complete designs, engineering and permitting required to move forward with “Project Pascalis.”

Any development agreement would establish, among other things, the price the developer would pay for the property and the amount the developers would be required to invest in the proposed privately funded, owned/operated hotel and residential portions of the project.

The commission also intends for the agreement to hold the project to strict completion deadlines that will ensure it moves at a deliberate pace and avoids potential delays.

Aiken leaders plan to acquire and redevelop seven downtown parcels to host a full-amenity hotel...
Aiken leaders plan to acquire and redevelop seven downtown parcels to host a full-amenity hotel and conference center.(WRDW)

The master development agreement being negotiated would also establish fixed pricing for the proposed conference center and parking facility that would be purchased by the city of Aiken upon completion.

Established in 1988 as a family-owned business, Raines has grown into a fully integrated development, management, and investment firm that develops, operates and owns hotel brands as well as boutique hotels.

“We believe we have the very best development team at the table,” said commission Executive Director Tim O’Briant.

The proposed redevelopment of the this property will consist of:

  • A privately funded 100-key hotel on the corner of Richland Avenue and Laurens Street with full amenities.
  • At least 100 privately funded multi-family housing units and mixed-use retail.
  • A conference center integrated into or adjacent to the hotel with not less than 25,000 square feet, and capacity for meetings with up to 450 participants.
  • A structured parking garage with at least 300 parking spaces

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