|By Warren Wise, The Post and Courier,
Charleston, S.C.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Oct. 18, 2011--MOUNT PLEASANT -- A Patriots Point hotel will expand next year, and a local developer is eyeing the tourist site for another lodging site.
The current 130-room Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina on Charleston Harbor plans to add 93 rooms starting in March, said Oliver Rooskens, general manager. Construction would be completed by the summer of 2013, he said.
Hotel representatives are scheduled to make a presentation about the expansion Wednesday before the Patriots Point Development Authority.
In the meantime, local resort and commercial developer Bennett Hofford Co. is looking to build a hotel on land Patriots Point hopes to market, developer Hank Hofford said Monday.
The company is waiting on a master redevelopment plan to be presented to the development authority in January before making a decision.
"We are interested in opportunities there, but there are challenges," Hofford said. "I think there is room for several hotels with several price points."
One of the obstacles is the procurement process for any property that a developer would either lease or buy.
Patriots Point is a state agency, which means any site set aside for a hotel would have to be advertised for bids and clear the State Budget and Control Board.
"We just couldn't pick somebody out and let them develop a hotel," said Mac Burdette, executive director of Patriots Point.
Hofford said his group won't make a decision on whether to proceed until the master plan is presented to the development authority.
The Patriots Point Foundation, the nonprofit fundraising arm of the waterfront attraction, will present the master plan after St. Louis-based consulting firm PGAV Destinations wraps up its study.
The document will serve as a guide to develop about 36 acres and the hope is that it will provide an infusion of cash to help the tourist attraction pay for costly repairs on its aging fleet of war-time vessels, including the World War II-era aircraft carrier Yorktown.
Hofford's group is interested in two potential development sites: three adjoining parcels between the harbor and Patriots Point Boulevard north of the main parking area, and a larger tract behind the existing ticket office that officials would like to see developed into a hotel, convention center, restaurants and shops.
Because of wetlands and the narrow configuration of the three smaller parcels, a boutique-style hotel would most likely be the option there, Hofford said. If the study calls for a hotel with a convention center and exhibition halls in the larger site behind the ticket office, Hofford said a much bigger lodging could be proposed.
"It all depends on the final master plan," Hofford said.
Whatever development takes place, it won't happen overnight.
Once the master plan is approved and the bidding process is completed, it could take another 18 months before a hotel is completed, Hofford said. Still, he said: "It's a great opportunity."
Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.
Editor's note: Earlier versions of this story were accompanied by the wrong photo. The Post and Courier regrets the error.
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