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Marian Group proposing 213 apartments for old Aiken County hospital property

December 11, 2018

The Aiken Planning Commission on Tuesday will review plans that, if eventually approved, would rezone the old Aiken County hospital property and target it for the development of 213 total apartments.

Plans submitted to the Planning Department by the Marian Group, a Kentucky firm, depict a retrofitted hospital building, which would house 69 apartments; six three-story buildings with 24 apartments each; branching parking lots, which coordinate with the buildings; as well as pathways and a handful of egresses.

The housing breaks down to 79 one-bedroom, 98 two-bedroom and 36 three-bedroom apartments, according to Planning Commission documents.

No building would exceed 50 feet in height, according to the same documents. Accounting for the property’s different elevations, the new buildings would not stand taller than the old county hospital.

Three structures currently on the site would be demolished, per the plans. That includes the former nurses building. The Marian Group, though, has indicated it would maintain the sandstone wall near Richland Avenue.

The Marian Group’s requested rezoning would change the lot from office to planned residential, a special purpose district. The firm’s request includes a waiver for development density.

The property in question, at 828 Richland Ave. W., is slightly more than 9.3 acres in size.

Planned residential zoning limits dwellings to 12 per acre; the firm’s plans come out to roughly 23 dwellings per acre.

The surrounding area comprises general business and limited professional zonings, among others.

The hospital property dates back to the 1930s. The site, previously home to the Aiken County government, has sat vacant for years now.

A rental housing study published in August — produced for the city, the Chamber of Commerce, Aiken Corporation and the Economic Development Partnership — described the hospital site as prime for a “multifamily development” with access to the downtown commercial hub.

The old hospital is about a half-mile away from the Laurens Street area.

The same housing study stressed Aiken’s need for more downtown housing.

The Marian Group’s plans, submitted in early November, represent basically just the beginning: They must be reviewed by the Planning Commission, an advisory body, and then approved by City Council. And there’s plenty of time for things to change during that process.

City Council has complete discretion over the plans, according to the city’s zoning ordinance.