SCE&G buildings in downtown Charleston are up for sale

SCE&G buildings in downtown Charleston are up for sale

South Carolina Electric & Gas closed its downtown Charleston operations office in mid-2015. It's now trying to sell the historic Meeting Street building and the 1-acre lot it sits on in the heart of the tourist district. File/Staff

South Carolina Electric & Gas is seeking to sell two office buildings it owns in the heart of the downtown Charleston tourism district.

The utility is soliciting bids for the neighboring properties on 1 acre at 141 Meeting St. and 174 King St. through its parent company's website.

Offers must be submitted by Sept. 7, according to an online marketing brochure. SCE&G hopes to pick a qualified buyer on Sept. 28, when a down payment of 10 percent or $1 million will be required, whichever is lower. 

The company said it reserves the right to reject any offers it receives. 

The Meeting Street property is the major asset, with more than 14,000 square feet of space in a historic building that's about 140 years old and dates back to a corporate predecessor of SCE&G.

The downtown billing and business office just north of the Gibbes Museum of Art was closed more than two years ago as the company "has moved to reduce costs and consolidate operations across our service territory in recent years," utility spokesman Paul Fischer said.

At that time, a retired SCE&G local executive said in a letter to The Post and Courier that 141 Meeting had housed "the oldest utility administrative building that has been continuously in use in the United States." The writer also expressed hope that the utility would donate the property to the Gibbes. 

The Meeting Street offices were designed and constructed for Charleston Gas Light Co., according to Historic Charleston Foundation's "The Buildings of Charleston." The Palladian-style structure with cast iron features was completed around 1878. 

The smaller building fronting King Street contains about 3,200 square feet of commercial space and is not believed be of historic significance, Fischer said.

The parking lot includes a drive-thru where SCE&G customers could pay their bills.

An advertisement about the sale of the "Class-A" office space and "prime commercial property" was featured in Wednesday's print editions of the Wall Street Journal

SCE&G is owned by SCANA Corp., which has been dealing with the fallout of its July 31 decision to abandon an unfinished nuclear energy project in Fairfield County.

The holding company also is seeking offers for other properties it owns, both in the Midlands.

One is called the Otarre development, which encompasses more than 280 acres of vacant land near SCANA's corporate campus in Cayce. Another is the 12-acre Regatta tract with 1,800 feet of Lake Murray waterfront

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