City could sell former Aiken public safety headquarters

Oct. 7—City of Aiken could be preparing to sell the former Department of Public Safety headquarters on Laurens Street.

The Aiken City Council met in executive session to discuss the potential sale of property along Laurens Street on Sept. 26.

Aiken County property tax records indicate that the city owns four properties along Laurens Street: 116 Laurens St. (a parking lot), 251 Laurens Street (the former public safety headquarters), 267 Laurens St. (near South Boundary Avenue and possibly the home of nonprofits) and 880 Laurens St. (home to a water tower).

Aiken City Manager Stuart Bedenbaugh confirmed Wednesday afternoon that the city council had met in executive session to discuss the potential sale of a property on Laurens Street but declined further comment.

However, of the Laurens Street properties owned by the city, only the former ADPS headquarters faces an unknown future.

The former headquarters was constructed in the 1960s when the area had grown enough — the Savannah River Site opened in the early 1950s — to necessitate the formation of a new organization to ensure the safety of the residents of the city.

It was vacated in 2019 when ADPS moved its headquarters to 834 Beaufort St., the former location of a Food Lion.

Bedenbaugh said in 2019 that the future of the building was not known.

"City officials have not even had an official discussion concerning the possibilities and options that could pertain to the property," Bedenbaugh continued.

He added the Laurens Street property has now been labeled an "unused" property with the city.

The unused label made it sound like the building has been completely abandoned, but that's not actually the case as the fire bay portion of the building is still being used as Station 6 as of Oct. 5.

The potential buyer for the building is not known.

The city council would need to vote in open session to sell the building at a future meeting. The timing of that meeting is not currently known.