If you don’t want to live in Margaritaville, you can at least waste away there for a night or two.
While details on the 72-acre retail portion of the development remain scant, Sam Sutton — whose Sutton Properties Inc. is partnering with Buffett’s Margaritaville brand and home builder Minto Communities on the project — said earlier this week that the hotel “will likely be in excess of 100 rooms.”
Unlike the gated Latitude Margaritaville residential neighborhood, the 290,000-square-foot commercial area will be open to the public.
It will be built in phases and will likely take several years to complete, Sutton said.
The project will be anchored by a grocery store, to “be built during the first phase (of construction) right along (U.S.) 278,” he said.
Which grocery store brand may occupy space in Margaritaville remains undecided.
“We have just begun initial discussions” on what kind of supermarket would be a good fit, Sutton said.
A Margaritaville-themed restaurant and retail shops will flank the grocery store.
Sutton said the plan is for commercial tenants to include “eateries, spaces for live entertainment and specialty retailers like fashion boutiques.”
“It’ll be more than your standard strip mall,” he said.
While Sutton said no date has been determined for groundbreaking on the commercial area, the goal is to match the construction progress of the residential portion of the development.
Minto Communities senior vice president William Bullock said earlier this week that groundbreaking is expected this summer, and a sales center is set to open early next year. The 3,000-home community’s first residents are expected to move in by the end of 2018.
“There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes to get things moving as quickly and smoothly as possible,” Bullock said. “Our engineers and architects are burning the midnight oil.”
Sutton said the commercial area of the project will be marketed not only toward residents of the community but also to travelers passing through the Lowcountry and vacationers on their way to Hilton Head Island.
“We are going to be making every effort to pull people off (Interstate) 95,” he said.
Sutton said he is particularly excited about working on a Margaritavilla-themed project.
“Back in my 20s, I crewed on some windjammer ships down in the Caribbean and kind of lived some of that Jimmy Buffett lifestyle,” he said. “This a great opportunity to have some synthesis with my joy of sailing and the tropics and what I do for a living — developing shopping centers.”
The Latitude Margaritaville community in Hardeeville will be the second of its kind.
The first — a 7,000-home development — is currently being built in Daytona Beach, Fla., and is expected to welcome its first residents late next year.