Aiken City Council will make its final decision on Monday whether to allow the sale of the former Coca-Cola lot, located on City land on the Northside, for the future development of a conference center.
Queen Harvey is interested in turning the 10,000-square-foot lot into a center called Ashberry Landing for family reunions, conferences, weddings and more. The property is located in Ventures Industrial Park next to the Aiken Municipal Airport.
Coca-Cola purchased the property more than 10 years ago, and paid roughly $156,000 for a regional office and distribution center, interim City Manager Roger LeDuc said. But, LeDuc said, for an unknown reason, that property never came to fruition.
At a public hearing last month, Council passed the allowance of the sale on first reading. Council also passed an ordinance to waive its right of refusal to repurchase the Coca-Cola lot.
During that same public hearing, Council member Gail Diggs said after knowing Harvey for more than 15 years, she knows Harvey will be successful in any business venture she attempts. Diggs also pointed out that the Northside doesn't have a conference center with meeting rooms and a place to host large wedding receptions.
Council member Lessie Price added this project is special because it's a venture by women. She also said with this development, located not far from the development of the Dupont Pointe homes behind Aiken High School, will stimulate growth and diversity on Aiken's Northside.
In other business, Council will hold the first reading on whether to consider the Planning Commission's recommendation to amend the concept plan for the development of a residential assisted-living facility and a medical facility off Whiskey Road and Stratford Drive.
Council also will hold a first reading on whether to approve a memorandum of agreement with the S.C. Department of Transportation to prevent future emergency event issues similar to those that occurred during February's ice storm.
The meeting will start at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers on the second floor of the Municipal Building, located at 214 Park Ave.
Maayan Schechter is the local government reporter with Aiken Standard. Follow her on Twitter @MaayanSchechter.