The Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum in Mt. Pleasant may be South Carolina’s largest tourist attraction, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t struggling financially. This week, the Patriots Point board looked at a plan that would build about 3,000 homes, restaurants and hotels on the 367 acres of land the museum sits on– replacing the 220 acre golf course on campus. Executive Director Mac Burdette says that plan was rejected. Here’s why:
Controversy. There’s a lot of opposition to this idea of developing the golf course for homes, condos, apartments, offices, hotels, etc. A lot of opposition to it. Mt. Pleasant mayor and several town council members have gone on record saying that they would not approve rezoning of the golf course and they do have the authority under local and state law to do that.
The new plan focuses the attention on the 36 acres along the entrance of Patriots Point, near the musuem that would build retail, hotels, a vistors center and more. Burdette says, in a sense, that’s where they will get the most bang for their buck.
Now, they have announced to the public: We are going to focus on these 36 acres. These 36 acres, if we do it right, and do it well, it is truly going to be a major national, statewide attraction that’s going to benefit this entire state, bottom line.
Burdette says the historic landmark owes the state $9.2 million for USS Laffey repairs, but that’s nothing compared to what lies ahead.
We know that in our future there are significant maintanence costs and repairs that are going to be required for the Yorktown. We’ve got estimates as high as $100 million to do everything that needs to be done to the Yorktown. That’s replacing sections of hull, cleaning it up environmentally, to painting the ship, to doing electrical work, water and sewer work.
Burdette says it may take up to six months, maybe more, to come up with an approved final plan. He says there’s no timeline for how long it will take to actually get that plan started.
Once the plan is done, then you go into the action phase. And, the action phase is you start trying to come up with a strategy for marketing, the parts of the 36 acres that will be developed. You start trying to market the master plan that would be our mission related uses, where we would have to raise substaintial amounts of money to build these mission related uses, like the landside museum.
Burdette says if all falls into place, and the plan is approved, Patriots Point will see a new light.
Once all that is in place, 36 acres, and we do become a major destination, not just the Yorktown, but a major destination, then of course, our revenues go up significantly and it becomes a capital fund to start doing the things we need to do.
The Patriots Point Foundation, which is a separate entity from the board, is raising money now to complete the last two phases within the next three months. Phase 1 is already completed.