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North Charleston trying to bring new grocery store to The Neck

Shipwatch Square (Google)

North Charleston officials will decide Thursday night on a proposal that could bring an oasis to a so-called “food desert” in The Neck.

City Council will vote during Thursday’s meeting on whether or not to give Mayor Keith Summey authority to offer incentives to a grocery store chain.

In return for $500,000 over five years, the city hopes the grocer will build a supermarket in the old Shipwatch Square shopping center at the corner of Rivers and McMillan avenues.

City officials say the USDA identified the area around Shipwatch Square as a food desert, so city leaders have been working for several years to attract a full service grocer to the area in hopes of correcting the problem.

Having a grocery store there would not only improve the lives of people living nearby by offering access to fresh, healthy food options; it would also take North Charleston forward in its efforts to revitalize The Neck area.

The Neck is the focal point of the “Partnership for Prosperity,” a so-called master plan for redevelopment in The Neck area of Charleston and North Charleston laid out and proposed by the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governements.

North Charleston officials say in the proposal the $100,000 per year being offered to the grocery store would be to alleviate startup costs and offset rent.

However, the proposal specifies that if the store closes before those 5 years, the company will have to pay the city back all the incentive money.

It’s unclear at this time which grocery store chain the city is in negotiations with to occupy the site.

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