COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The old State Hospital on Bull Street is "pretty close" to being sold, according to an attorney for the state Department of Mental Health. Of course, this isn't the first time we've heard that.
Mark Binkley said the department is negotiating with Hughes Development of Greenville on the sale of the historic property. The South Carolina National Health Commission and a court of law must approve the agreement.
Binkley said he expects the deal to be concluded by the end of the month. The Department of Mental Health will make an official announcement once the deal is finalized.
Hughes signed a letter of intent to buy the property back in September 2009, but the sale still hasn't been completed. A price on the 165-acre property has not been released.
The Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation is attempting to preserve 45 acres of the site as an "architectural conservation district." The city will still have significant input on historic preservation of buildings after the property is sold, because the property will have to be rezoned for development.
The hospital was built in 1822 to provide care for South Carolina's mentally ill, and sprawls over 181 acres in the heart of Columbia. The property was developed long before the Civil War, but only a small portion of the property has the protection of being listed on the National Register of Historic Places.