Hilton Head Island land developer replaces leaders

gsmith@islandpacket.comDecember 20, 2012 

The president and two other leaders of Greenwood Communities and Resorts, a longtime Hilton Head Island resort development and management company, are leaving.

Departing are Jay Nexsen, the president and CEO; Bret Martin, vice president of operations, who is based on Hilton Head; and John Betts, assistant vice president of resort operations, also based on Hilton Head.

W.M. "Bubba" Self Jr., vice president of finance, would not say whether the resignations were voluntary, adding the company does not comment on personnel matters.

The family-owned company owns and operates golf, tennis and other amenities at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort and owns the marina and restaurant/retail space at Shelter Cove Harbour.

Self, a fourth-generation executive with the company, said he will take on Nexsen's and Martin's duties; his brother, Thomas Self, currently serving in an accounting capacity at the company, will take on more responsibility.

It is too early to say whether additional leaders will be brought in, according to Bubba Self.

Self added that the company, like others in the real estate and development industry, is retooling as it struggles through a lean economy.

"We've attempted to broaden our reach and offer more in programs and amenities (since the recession began). And while we've gotten a lot of traction, we're doing more things for the same amount of revenue," Self said. The decrease in the amount of business travel to the island, including business retreats and corporate meetings, has taken a bite out of business, he said.

The company also develops and manages properties in Charleston and at Lake Keowee in Sunset, which is in South Carolina's upstate, as well as in North Carolina and Georgia. Greenwood's golf revenues are about the same this year as last, and its real estate is moving, although home prices remain low, Self said.

No other personnel changes are expected at this time, and the company is here to stay, said Cathy Anthony, the company's director of corporate marketing.

"We're staying in Hilton Head. We're not going anywhere," she said.

The Self family has been a development force on Hilton Head Island since the 1960s, when the late James C. Self Jr. helped build Sea Pines' first golf course, the Ocean Course. In 1978, the family started a development company, then called Greenwood Development. It acquired Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort and the land that would become Shelter Cove Harbour and Palmetto Hall Plantation.

The family has also donated land for several island institutions, including Hilton Head Hospital, the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, Christ Lutheran Church and the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce headquarters.

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  2. Palmetto Dunes owners acquire local real estate company. Jan. 23, 2012

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