County has received 'more than one' expression of interest in old Aiken County Hospital property 1

Aiken County Council Chairman Gary Bunker listens during County Council's meeting Tuesday at the  Aiken County Government Center.

Prior to Aiken County Council’s meeting Tuesday at the Aiken County Government Center, the panel met in executive session.

According to an announcement before the session, the old Aiken County Hospital was scheduled to be discussed.

Afterward, when asked what happened, County Council Chairman Gary Bunker gave the expected response that he couldn’t reveal what the panel had talked about.

But he did say, “We have had more than one expression of interest in that property since the beginning of this week.”

Earlier this month, attorneys for WTC Investments LLC notified county officials that WTC was withdrawing from a deal to purchase the old hospital and its 9.33 acres of land for $1.1 million.

“We have gone through the third (and final) reading (of an ordinance) with the sale to WTC,” Bunker said. “But WTC has invoked a contract clause to pull out of it, so that sale is not going to happen. Assuming that Aiken County is going to sell to someone else, that would be handled by another three-reading ordinance both to undo the sale to WTC and name a buyer at another price.

“Doing nothing is always an option,” he added, “but I personally would like to see it sold. I’m speaking for myself only.”

Tom Wyatt manages WTC. His father, Weldon Wyatt, is a local entrepreneur and developer.

WTC’s plan for the old hospital land, which is on Richland Avenue West in Aiken, was to raze all existing buildings on the site and then to construct a hotel, conference center, apartment complex and amenity area.

The old hospital structure, which was built prior to World War II, also served as county government’s headquarters for a while prior to the opening of the $35.7-million Aiken County Government Center in 2014 on University Parkway.

Agenda items approved by County Council during Tuesday’s meeting included the following:

• A resolution to accept available funding of up to $283,000 for the construction of a new boat ramp and dock system at Langley Pond Park near Warrenville from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ Water Recreational Resources Fund and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program.

• The second reading of an ordinance to sell a 3-acre parcel of land owned by the county at the Carrol H. Warner Savannah River Research Campus near New Ellenton to a real estate development company that is interested in building “an office and facility” that would be leased by “a company or entity engaged in activities related to the Savannah River Site.”

• A resolution to authorize an agreement with Thomson Roofing & Metal Company of Thomson Georgia to replace the roof at the Carrol H. Warner Savannah River Research Campus for $238,780.

• A resolution to authorize an agreement with Trotter Site Preparation LLC of Aiken to serve as the contractor for the Roy Warner Walking Track project in Wagener. The cost is $96,939.96.

All members of County Council were present at the meeting.

​Dede Biles is the Aiken County government, business and horse industry reporter for the Aiken Standard. Follow her on Twitter @DBethBiles.