The owners of Little River Marina and Resort in Columbia County were notified last year their lease, which expired Dec. 27, would not be renewed.
Pam Bugg, whose family had operated the site since 1986, was ordered to close the business, leaving in limbo the fate of existing improvements such as docks, boat storage, cabins and other amenities on the corps-owned property.
According to a notice of availability issued this week, the corps intends to lease the site to an individual or organization that presents the best development plan. The applications will be evaluated by criteria including marina experience, financial capabilities and background checks. Although the lease is available on a competitive basis, the corps reserves the right to reject all applicants and not issue a lease at all if a suitable operator is not identified, according to the notice, which also specifies that many existing facilities at Little River must be removed or renovated.
The reservoir has six commercial marina sites that rarely change hands. In 1995, the lease for Fishing Village Marina in South Carolina was not renewed after 37 years. A new lease was later offered to the current operator, Plum Branch Yacht Club. That vacancy drew 122 inquiries that were narrowed to seven finalists.
Other marinas at the lake are Rayesville, Tradewinds, Savannah Lakes Village and Soap Creek. All are on corps lands leased to the marina operators.