Fort Mill Times

Mayor pushing for new City Hall site

Last week, Tega Cay Mayor George Sheppard and members of the golf committee held a meeting to discuss the challenges and successes to come for the Tega Cay Golf Club. However, the meeting was conducted outside, on the back porch adjacent to the clubhouse dining room, as both levels of the Glennon Center were thoroughly booked for the night.

For Sheppard, who is leading the charge to purchase the vacated Tega Cay First Properties building, this is precisely why the city needs the building: to create more space and streamline all city operations.

“The city’s population is close to 8,000, yet we operate for the most part out of a four-bedroom house,” said Sheppard in reference to the city administration building, located on Shoreline Parkway.

“Purchasing this building would allow us to take all of our services and put them under one roof, plus give us our first true City Hall. It’s important to our customers and the citizens of Tega Cay, and it just makes sense to me.”

The First Properties building, located at 2222 Gold Hill Road, was first erected in 1980 by former company president and owner John Wilkerson, who sold the real estate company in 2004 to Kent and Julie Van Slambrook. But in July of this year, First Properties decided to consolidate its operations, establishing its central business location on South Tryon Street in Charlotte, leaving behind both the former Tega Cay location and the executive 1 court branch building in Lake Wylie.

Talk amongst the Tega Cay City Council members regarding the vacated building, which sits at “the mouth of Tega Cay” says Sheppard, began Aug. 15. But as of now, council members are still awaiting further details regarding the building’s size, cost, availability and financial benefits.

“At this point, we still need council to buy into the idea of purchasing the property,” said Sheppard, who estimates the cost of the First Properties building to be in the $800,000-$900,000 range. “Right now we don’t have the proper information for council to be for or in opposition of the proposal. But once council makes a decision, we would shoot to begin basing operations out of the building by the end of this year or beginning of 2012, should it be approved.”

If plans to purchase the building are successful, all development, administrative, and business services would be relocated to the facility, which would eliminate the need for the Shoreline Parkway location and the old City Hall building, which neighbors the Tega Cay Marina. According to Sheppard, vacating the locations could make them viable real estate properties, estimating that the city could recoup 75 percent of the money spent on the First Properties building from the resulting sales.

But it’s merely speculation at this point, as Tega Cay on Friday picked a new city manager whose duties would include obtaining an estimate on the value of the buildings that would be vacated in lieu of the First Properties purchase.

Until a decision is made, the First Properties building will continue to be unoccupied. But if Sheppard has it his way, the building would be at the forefront of Tega Cay’s continued growth.

“The First Properties building would undoubtedly give Tega Cay more of an appeal, as it would greet citizens entering our city and be a central hub for all happenings here,” Sheppard said.

In the eyes of City Operations Manager Charlie Funderburk, the city of Tega Cay simply needs a new city hall one way or another.

“At some point, we will need to address our City Hall situation,” Funderburk said. “Whether it’s the First Properties building or another undetermined location, we need a legitimate city hall, as it would help to validate our staff in the eyes of Tega Cay residents.”