CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston city leaders are working to find a solution for the site of a former West Ashley grocery store.

The now-vacant lot off Sumar Street has been a topic of conversation for years – how will the city transform the former Piggly Wiggly location into something useful for everyone?

“It’s a bit of an eyesore right now,” said Charleston City Councilman Karl Brady. “We’d like to see something move forward rather than it just being a concrete pad.”

The store closed in 2015 and was demolished a year later. The lot has been empty ever since.

“Property owner at that time, Fason, had decided to rebuild this location as a 20-pump gas station with a convenience store,” said Eric Pohlman, West Ashley Coordinator.

But some West Ashley residents were not excited about the proposal.

“They felt that this was a prominent location that needed to be more attractive,” Pohlman said.

Now, Councilman Brady says it’s time to invest in West Ashley and tackle projects like this one. “I think a lot of city council representatives in West Ashley believe that as well,” he said.

After hosting a large public input meeting, officials landed on creating a $45,000,000 facility.

“City owned flex auditorium where we can host anything from city council meetings and neighborhood association meetings, all the way to Spoleto events and other community items,” said Pohlman of the plan.

It will also feature restaurants and office space.

City leaders say they want this place to be something that everyone can enjoy and could serve as a welcome mat to West Ashley.

“It’s going to show that this isn’t just a corridor to drive through, this is an area that the community loves. It’s a spot to go to and stay and linger and bring families, bring friends, and enjoy what West Ashley has to offer,” Pohlman said.

Project managers say they hope to get construction started in 2024.