Former naval hospital to become Chicora Life Center
By Ashley Barker
The former Charleston Naval Hospital is being renovated and is scheduled to be reopened early next year as the Chicora Life Center.
The nearly 400,000-square-foot, 10-story facility at 3600 Rivers Ave. in North Charleston opened as a hospital in 1973 and closed in 2010. Two years later, the city of North Charleston purchased about 40 acres of land that included the former hospital and the adjacent Shipwatch Square shopping center. The city then sold the properties earlier this year to Chicora Gardens Holdings LLC for $9.2 million.
Chicora Gardens Holdings is investing an initial $3 million to renovate the former hospital, according to Doug Durbano, the center’s manager. Selective interior demolition has been approved by the S.C. Department of Health & Environmental Control and should begin within two weeks.
“It just struck us. ... It should be a social services hub,” Durbano said during a press conference Friday. “We needed a place where all of these essential social services could come together. The recipients of these kinds of things are sometimes in a situation where being bounced around and just having to travel is so burdensome and such a barrier that it adds additional injury to the process.”
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