Orangeburg County Council approved the purchase of a John C. Calhoun Drive hotel on Monday to prepare for the construction of a new county courthouse.

County Council unanimously approved the purchase of the Palmetto Inn and Suites for $1.4 million.

The purchase is being made to lock down properties for the future construction of the new Orangeburg County Courthouse on Russell Street.

Orangeburg County Administrator Harold Young told council during its Monday meeting that the purchase of the property, “will help promote economic development and help us further our efforts to improve justice within the county of Orangeburg.”

“It is part of the properties that go with the hotel for the expansion of what we are trying to do with the courthouse property,” Young said.

“We needed additional parking space and an area for drainage and it gives us additional access,” Young said. “It gives us visibility from John C. all the way to Russell and it eliminates a place that has become an eyesore and a nuisance for crime.”

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The county was thinking of building a parking garage for the courthouse, but it would cost about $7.5 million to construct the garage, Young said. A parking garage won’t be needed if the county buys Palmetto Inn and Suites.

The 1.23 acre-property is owned by Jadva Investments LLC, according to county property records.

Orangeburg County has purchased several properties on Russell Street for the new courthouse, totaling about 5.5 acres. The purchase cost has been a little over $2 million, Young said.

In February 2022, the county bought the former Winn-Dixie grocery store on 2.32 acres at 1480 Russell St. The Winn-Dixie grocery store closed in June 1997.

In May 2022, the county purchased the rear parking lot at the Dairy-O and then later that same month purchased the former hair salon building at 1520 Russell St.

The city owns the former Thunderbird motel at 465 Orange St. behind the Dairy-O. It purchased the hotel for about $100,000 in December 2021. The county plans to purchase the property from the city.

In April of this year, the county approved borrowing $7.3 million for the first phase of construction. The money will go toward the demolition of existing structures, architecture, engineering and surveying costs, as well as additional capital projects.

The buildings that will be torn down include the former grocery store, the hotel and most likely the former hair salon building.

Demolition work at the new site could begin in a couple of months, Young said.

Orangeburg County announced plans to build a new courthouse in February 2022.

The courthouse was built in 1928 and the building has extended past its useful life, according to Young.

County officials have said the current courthouse on Amelia Street is too small to meet community needs. It has one large courtroom and several smaller ones.

Orangeburg County’s courthouse needs at least six large courtrooms, officials say.

The estimated cost for a new courthouse is between $30 million and $50 million.

The county is paying for construction through an installment revenue purchase bond, which will allow the county to pay down the bond debt with $1 million installment payments rather than in a lump payment of $50 million.

County officials say using the installment revenue purchase bond route should allow it to pay for the courthouse with fee-in-lieu of taxes revenue from industries without a tax increase.

County officials say the bond could also be paid back with proceeds received from the fifth round of the 1% capital projects sales tax, if voters approve the fifth round in a referendum. The fifth round will likely go before the voters in the 2024 general election.

Contact the writer: or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.

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