Purchase Expands Goal of Job Creation and Economic Development at Former Navy Base
Charleston, SC – October 8, 2013 – Palmetto Railways, formerly South Carolina Public Railways, today announced the purchase of the remaining 50 acres of what is known as the Noisette property on the former Navy Base. “As a public entity, Palmetto Railways has a vested interest in ascertaining the best and highest use of the former Noisette property not only for North Charleston but for the state as a whole,” said Jeff McWhorter, president and CEO of Palmetto Railways. “Palmetto Railways will continue its efforts to address safety issues, accessibility, and attractiveness at the former Navy Base with the goal of recruiting new business investment and job creation.”The $10 million purchase includes the following properties: 7 Storehouse Row, 10 Storehouse Row, 11 Storehouse Row, the old Navy Hospital parcel, Quarters 762 and 763, the CMCI parcel and more than 6.3 usable acres known as parcel 14. These additional 50 acres in and around previously acquired acreage will allow Palmetto Railways to safely construct and implement the planned intermodal container transfer facility (ICTF) and at the same time improve the area in a cohesive fashion, which will ultimately make the entire area more economically viable. In discussions with the City of North Charleston, Palmetto Railways has stated its intent to seek input from various stakeholders at the former Navy Base to develop a master plan designed to attract economic development and accommodate existing business owners and residents at the former Navy Base.“The time is now to move forward at the former Navy Base,” said Mayor Keith Summey. “Business and research development have progressed, as is noted in the successes of CMMC, the Lowcountry Innovation Center, Clemson University’s Restoration Institute, and a wide variety of small businesses, but the global recession and US housing market crash halted the original vision for the base. We are optimistic that Palmetto Railways and the Department of Commerce are well-positioned to attract new investment to North Charleston and have a sincere interest to further improve the Navy Base.”“An equal-access, dual-rail solution to handle the increased cargo going in and out of the Port of Charleston on post-Panamax container ships has always been the primary focus of Palmetto Railways in North Charleston,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “However, this purchase of Noisette’s remaining acreage at the former Navy Base also gives the Department of Commerce and Palmetto Railways the unique opportunity to make good things happen in North Charleston and to take a comprehensive, public-oriented approach to development.” The purchase consolidates properties owned by the state on the former Navy Base in North Charleston. Palmetto Railways previously acquired 240 acres on the Base in late 2010 for a planned intermodal rail facility with access by both Class I carriers that serve the Port of Charleston market. “The Department of Commerce and Palmetto Railways have a public-oriented interest in ensuring that the former Navy Base is a vibrant and sustainable community that is attractive to companies that wish to locate near the Port. With the cooperation of Mayor Summey and others, Palmetto Railways will be a driving force in turning the former Navy Base into an economic engine not only for the City of North Charleston, but also for the greater Charleston Region and the state as a whole,” said Secretary Hitt.Palmetto Railways is a division of the South Carolina Department of Commerce. Palmetto Railways’ mission is to provide safe, efficient, and cost-effective freight transportation, while facilitating further economic development efforts in and around South Carolina. It also provides technical assistance and consulting services in railroad matters to state, local and municipal governments.