Pineland Station owners ponder Hilton Head shopping center's overhaul

tbarton@islandpacket.comOctober 6, 2013 

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FILE: Shoppers walk toward the parking lot from the Pineland Station shopping center on Hilton Head Island in October 2013.

SARAH WELLIVER — Sarah Welliver Buy Photo

Another shopping center on Hilton Head Island could get a major overhaul, according to its owners.

Jonathan Guion, regional partner with Wheeler Development of Virginia Beach, Va., said the company might tear down and rebuild much of the Pineland Station north-island shopping center off William Hilton Parkway.

"It's an older shopping center with a layout that is not very functional for today's shoppers," Guion said. "We're looking at taking down some of the existing buildings and repositioning new buildings with a more contemporary, modern beach look to it. We want to create a high-end center."

The news comes nearly a month after Heritage Fine Jewelry announced plans to leave the shopping center to join a handful of businesses planning to open at the new Shelter Cove Towne Centre next year. Store manager Doug Safe said the family-run business, which has operated on the island since 1990, chose to move in part because of Pineland Station's poor condition.

Safe said when announcing the move in September that Pineland Station is past due for a renovation, "and we don't want to deal with the reconstruction process and put our customers through that.

"Unfortunately, this side of the island has gotten a little rougher over the years."

The Shelter Cove Towne Centre, a 42-acre outdoor mall, is being built at the site of the former Mall at Shelter Cove.

The store's departure and the current reconstruction of the former mall, however, factored little into the company's decision to rehab the 130,000-square-foot shopping center built in 1977 and situated on about 12 acres of land, Guion said.

"It will be a great addition to the island, and we have an investment in our property that has reached its functional life span and it's time to do something," Guion said. "The feeling the town is in a mode where they want the buildings upgraded is really the driver."

The company has yet to present plans to the town and is still deciding on designs, he said. Stein Mart and Starbucks, though, would remain, while much of the shopping center would be torn down and rebuilt, according to tentative plans. Construction would occur in phases, so current tenants could remain open during construction and move into new space once completed, Guion said.

"You have these covered entryways and have to go back into long alleyways to get to shops," he said. "We want to bring all of that out, so that it's front and center and visible from the parking area. Tenants don't want to be in dark, old buildings. They want to be in bright, contemporary buildings."

The shopping center has a high vacancy rate, according to Guion, but he would not say what that rate is.

He also could not say when construction would begin, but noted it probably would take about two years to complete.

"We have a long way to go," Guion said. "We are actively working on it but are in the early stages."

Follow reporter Tom Barton at twitter.com/IPBG_Tom.

Related content: Jewelry store, burger restaurant announced for Shelter Cove: Sept. 5, 2013 http://www.islandpacket.com/2013/09/05/2668164/jewelry-store-burger-restaurant.html

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