An Upstate developer has signed a contract to buy the 165-acre state mental hospital campus on Bull Street in one of the most anticipated and significant land deals in city history.
Bob Hughes submitted a signed contract to the S.C. Department of Mental Health late Thursday afternoon agreeing to a total guaranteed price of $15 million to be paid on a maximum seven-year installment plan. DMH retains ownership of individual parcels until they are sold.
Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin called the site the largest piece of land in any major citys downtown east of the Mississippi River. A 2005 plan called for construction of more than 1,200 homes and nearly 1 million square feet of office and retail space, which would have added significantly to the citys tax rolls. It is unclear whether Hughes will be bound by that plan.
It fundamentally changes the map of Columbia, Benjamin said. Were excited about the most significant development opportunity in this city for a generation.
The S.C. Mental Health Commission already has approved a contract for the sites sale negotiated by its staff attorneys and Hughes, agency attorney Mark Binkley said.