Hilton Head to buy 102 acres in Port Royal Plantation for $5 million

bheffernan@islandpacket.comMarch 5, 2013 

  • Unanimously approved the Town of Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue Division's 2013 strategic plan with some changes. The new plan includes a list of 55 procedural and capital project recommendations, many of which will be revisited by council.

  • Purchased two plots totaling 10.49 acres. The 10 acres located off Gumtree Road behind the Boys and Girls Club will be used in partnership with the club to expand its current programming. The town will pay Atlas SC I SPE, LLC $250,000 for the parcel with money from the property resale fund.

  • It also bought .49 acres along Pope Avenue near Coligny Circle from TP Development for $385,000. The town will pay for the plot using tax-increment financing money.

The Town of Hilton Head Island will spend $5 million to buy about 102 acres in Port Royal Plantation, but won't decide what to do with the land for at least two years.

Hilton Head Town Council made the decision Tuesday night during its regular meeting to buy the land from the Heritage Golf Group, which owns all three golf courses in Port Royal Plantation.

The purchase is the town's first major land acquisition since buying Honey Horn in the 1990s, town officials said.

"This is an incredible opportunity," Mayor Drew Laughlin said in a press release. "It is the largest single parcel the town has ever acquired, and it is a beautiful piece of property, in the heart of the island, offering a lot of potential to meet the future needs of the island."

The plot includes holes 2 through 16 of the Planter's Row Golf Course and stretches 1,494 feet along William Hilton Parkway between Dillon and Union Cemetery roads.

The town will lease the land back to the Heritage Golf Group for a minimum of two years with single-year extension options until the town decides what to do with the land, according to town manager Steve Riley. He said there are no current plans for the land. The course will remain for the time being.

"It will be at least two years to even begin to plan for its use," Riley said, adding that town staff is first focusing on developing the Coligny and Chaplain areas.

The purchase will not result in a tax increase, Riley said. The town will pay for the plot with general obligation referendum bond proceeds and take the $5 million on as debt, which will replace expiring debts from previous bonds.

Voters authorized the town to purchase $17 million worth of land in 2008 referendum.

Town Council decided a year later to borrow only $12 million.

The purchase approved Tuesday night would fulfill the remaining $5 million the town was allowed to spend. That authorization would have expired in November.

"I believe that this purchase -- over time and with careful and thoughtful planning -- will prove to be the crown jewel of our properties," Laughlin said in the release.

Follow reporter Brian Heffernan at twitter.com/IPBG_Brian.

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