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Old Burndale Shopping Center to be demolished

Posted: March 20, 2017 5:05 p.m.
Updated: March 21, 2017 1:00 a.m.
Martin L. Cahn/C-I

Temporary fencing has been erected around the parking lot of the former Burndale Shopping Center on East DeKalb Street. The center will be demolished during the coming weeks and will include the removal of harmful asbestos. Abatement and demolition will begin at the far left end with an old bowling alley and move down the center in sections. Work was scheduled to begin early this week.

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A long-vacant, but long-time landmark in Camden will be demolished in the coming weeks.

The old Burndale Shopping Center on East DeKalb Street was fenced off Thursday by a three-man crew working for CIDS Inc.

According to Sallie Harrell, executive director of the Health Services District of Kershaw County, which owns the property, CIDS was scheduled to begin performing asbestos abatement early this week followed by demolition.

“My understanding … is that the project will consist of abatement and then demolition in ‘sections,’ beginning at the bowling alley,” Harrell said in an email Thursday afternoon.

The Health Services District, which also owns the Karesh Long-Term Care wing next to KershawHealth along with several other properties, is what remains of the former public hospital. The KershawHealth Board of Trustees and Kershaw County sold the hospital, but not the Karesh wing, to Capella Healthcare in late 2015.

KershawHealth, when it was known as Kershaw County Medical Center (KCMC), announced it was purchasing the shopping center in October 2007 and closed on the property in April 2008. Its original plan was to convert Burndale into an outpatient center focused, primarily, on women’s health. This was around the same time KCMC moved forward with plans to build what is now the Elgin Outpatient/Urgent Care Center near I-20 off White Pond Road.

Burndale got left behind with the Great Recession that started later 2008 and, with a few exceptions, has been empty ever since. Harrell said the current Health Services District board voted in February to engage contractors for help with asbestos abatement.

“The board has not decided on what they will do with the property once the abatement/demolition is completed,” Harrell said. “The demolition will not include the actual parking lot at this point. Also, the old insurance building is not included at this point.”

No landscape work will be performed for now, Harrell added.

Piggly Wiggly, now located across the street, served as the anchor for Burndale Shopping Center for decades. Retired store manager Steve Jackson said he believes Piggly Wiggly moved to Burndale from uptown in either 1956 or 1957.

“It was very popular in the 1960s with the bowling alley and an upscale restaurant called Elizabeth’s,” Jackson said, who said he is sad to see the old stores come down. “A lot of my life was spent there. I was hoping to see the medical park there, but that failed.”

As of Monday afternoon, no work had begun at the site.

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