The owners of a 21-story structure on the former PTL ministries site near Fort Mill say they now plan to convert the tower into condominiums.
Morningstar Ministries purchased the 50-acre complex, including the unfinished 500-room hotel tower, in December 2004. Church officials had told York County leaders the building would be torn down in two years. The County set a deadline of January 10, 2007.
Pat Selvey, construction manager for Morningstar, said plans for the property changed about 9 months ago when engineering firm Stanley D. Lindsey and Associates declared the unfinished hotel structurally sound. Morningstar now hopes to convert the tower into condominiums marketed to retirees.
Morningstar CEO Rick Joyner said he was surprised by the findings of engineer Jack Horner. Horner was also on the original construction team before work stopped in the late 1980’s.
“It does look bad. I mean cosmetically it’s in bad shape. But structurally it is in amazing shape and it really won’t take much to finish it,” Joyner told 6News Monday afternoon.
Morningstar officials said no timeline has been established for construction. Sources tell 6News the organization has spent $300,000 to purchase the tower and approximately $200,000 for design work. The condominium project is expected to cost up to $20-million, according to Joyner.
York County Planning Director Susan Britt said her office has not been formally notified of a change in plans for the property. Britt said the County approved a rezoning request for the 50-acre Heritage International site in January 2005 with a condition that the hotel be demolished.
Britt said a notice of violation could be filed as early as Thursday. Penalties could include a fine of $465 per day for each violation.
Morningstar officials were meeting with York County planning staff Monday evening to discuss the demolition deadline and details of the renovation.
Keith Cooke, who lives near the former PTL tower in the Regent Park community, said he hopes construction will resume soon. “It’s the indecisiveness of what they’re going to do with it,” Cooke said. “I would like to know are they going to take it down, are they going to renovate it, or are they going to turn it into something that the rest of the residents can use.”
Joyner said he understands the concerns of nearby neighbors. “We think it’s going to be one of the most beautiful buildings around. If they can just be patient with us it will be worth it,” said Joyner.