The South Carolina Department of Mental Health has reached a deal to sell a large parcel of land in Columbia that is billed as one of the largest pieces of urban land in the nation.
The 165-acre state mental hospital campus off Bull Street in downtown Columbia has been void of patients for decades, but the state agency in charge of it has had trouble selling it off.
The Department of Mental Health now says it’s finally found a buyer.
The agency said it has reached an agreement with the Hughes Development Corporation of Greenville to sell the property for $15 million. The surplus land has been called by Columbia mayor Steve Benjamin as the largest piece of land in any major city’s downtown east of the Mississippi.
While the agreement is now public, the sale cannot be made final until its approval by the State Budget and Control Board, which oversees any real estate deals involving the state government. Hughes also wants a re-zoning of the property. The deal also has to be approved by a state court, since the land is officially owned by a trust dedicated to the treatment of the mentally ill.
Hughes has not said what it wants to do with the property. However, a 2005 proposal by Columbia officials included a plan for 1,200 homes and nearly 1 million square feet of office and retail space.