Hilton Head Council delays vote on land sale for Pineland Station redevelopment

dburley@islandpacket.comApril 1, 2014 

Pineland Station on Hilton Head Island, shown in January, is expected to undergo major renovations. The owner has offered to buy 10 acres of town-owned land for the project, which would involve demolishing and rebuilding much of the 130,000-square-foot north-island shopping center off William Hilton Parkway.

STAFF PHOTO

A developer's plan to make over the Pineland Station shopping center on Hilton Head Island was put on hold Tuesday night.

Hilton Head Island Town Council postponed a vote on whether to sell 10 acres of unused town land behind the aging retail complex for $1 million. The land would be part of the planned redevelopment, according to town documents.

The decision to postpone the vote came after a 20-minute closed meeting. Island officials declined to discuss why the vote on the sale was delayed.

Councilmen Lee Edwards and Bill Harkins declined to comment, citing ongoing negotiations.

Town manager Steve Riley said council members wanted more "assurances ... referencing exactly what will be done" with the land. He declined to elaborate.

Attempts after the meeting to reach Jonathan Guion, a developer with the Virginia Beach, Va., firm that owns the mall, were unsuccessful.

In a telephone interview before the meeting, Guion said his company -- Wheeler Interests -- plans to tear down and rebuild much of the 130,000-square-foot north-island shopping center off William Hilton Parkway.

To create more space for the makeover, his firm offered to buy the open land adjacent to Mathews Drive.

Originally intended for a law enforcement center, the land has sat vacant since the town bought it in 2001, according to town documents.

Five acres are unusable wetlands. The remaining 5 acres would be used for the development.

Preliminary plans include a gas station, a retention pond behind the center, several smaller shops and a 41,200-square-foot retailer, according to town documents. Guion declined to name the potential tenants for those spots, but said negotiations should be complete within a month.

"It would be nothing you would consider 'big-box,'" he said. "No Targets, no electronic stores like Best Buy."

Several current tenants will remain on site, including Stein Mart and Starbucks, he said.

Construction would occur in phases, so current tenants could remain open. They would move into new space once the work is completed, he said.

Built in the late 1970s, Pineland Station is in need of renovation and has a number of vacancies, according to town documents.

"Its design is an older one that's not functional anymore," Guion said. "You can't rent retailers those back building spaces; they don't want to be there."

Town Council will consider the land-sale proposal again at its April 22 meeting.

If it passes, the sale would need one more approval vote.

Follow reporter Dan Burley at twitter.com/IPBG_Dan.

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