Patriots Point announces landside museum

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- More changes are coming to the once sinking Patriots Point. The Development Authority Board announced Wednesday morning that they are building a state-of-the-art landside museum that will cost more than $100 million.Representatives say this project will be "the most significant decision to come from Patriots Point in decades"and will have a "lasting economic impact on Charleston and the state of South Carolina."

At the announcement organizers also said "It will be a destination and add 200,000 visitors to Charleston area a year."

Patriots Point released the following statement:

Patriots Points Development Authority (PPDA) announced today that it has entered into an agreement with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society to develop a permanent landside location for the National Medal of Honor Museum on Charleston Harbor.

The endeavor - arguably the most significant decision to come from Patriots Point in decades - will have a lasting positive economic impact on the Charleston area and South Carolina, and will serve to inspire generations of Americans.

"The National Medal of Honor Museum will play a pivotal role in transforming Patriots Point into a nationally prominent destination," said PPDA Chairman Ray Chandler. "No other community can claim this unique destination asset, with its powerful, heroic stories."

"We are honored that the Congressional Medal of Honor Society has recognized our unique mission and location." Chandler continued. "Every South Carolinian should be proud that the recipients of our nation's highest honor selected our state and Patriots Point as the home of their legacy."

The PPDA Board and the Congressional Medal of Honor Society will jointly seek Congressional designation of the site as the National Medal of Honor Museum.

Chandler also announced that an organizing committee has been selected to begin the process of creating the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation. Organizing Committee members include Wayne Adams, PPDA Board Vice Chair and Chairman of the Development Committee; Darwin Simpson, PPDA Board Member and Chairman of the Finance and Personnel Committee; Carlyle Blakeney, Chairman of the Patriots Point Foundation; Major General James E. Livingston, Medal of Honor recipient and member of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society; and George Patton Waters, member of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation.

The National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation will hold a lease from PPDA for the property and will be responsible for raising funds to design, build and operate the museum. No operating funds from Patriots Point Development Authority will be used for construction or operation of the museum.

Upon completion, the national museum will be located along a prominent waterfront area at the entrance to Patriots Point and will serve as the anchor for future development on additional PPDA properties.

The project is expected to cost more than $100 million. In addition, the museum will be supported by a multi-million dollar hospitality and consumer component that will feature a world-class destination hotel with amenities, including a conference center.

"We fully expect that this project will serve as a catalyst for additional investments at Patriots Point," Chandler stated. "This will include both cultural and appropriate commercial and hospitality uses of the highest quality."

It is estimated that by the third year of its operation, the National Medal of Honor Museum will attract more than 200,000 visitors per year. For every 12,000 new visitors to Patriots Point, almost $5 million in incremental visitor spending in the Charleston community will be created.

"We believe there is no better use for our property that will be universally embraced by the residents and leaders of Mount Pleasant, the Charleston area and our state," Chandler said. "We wish to express our appreciation to the Patriots Point Foundation for raising the funds to provide the study that led us to this vision."

There are few attractions in the United States that are primary drivers of destination visitation and can generate significant amounts of overnight stays by themselves.{} It is the goal of the PPDA Board to become one of these nationally-unique attractions.

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