People traveling U.S. 278 between Interstate 95 and Bluffton are seeing the first glimpses of Latitude Margaritaville Hilton Head’s public-facing entrance, but plans submitted to the City of Hardeeville reveal more detail about the Jimmy-Buffett-themed development coming to the area.
The plans, a mix of conceptual drawings and architectural mockups, were obtained from the City of Hardeeville by The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette on Friday morning.
They show the current Hilton Head Lakes towers off U.S. 278 being replaced by waterfalls surrounded by craggy rock formations bordered by palm trees. Colorful flowers front the proposed fixtures. And, just beyond them, a bridge with bamboo elements will take residents and visitors alike farther into the community.
As of Friday morning, construction crews had portions of one of the waterfalls in place.
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“The entry is really meant to convey that island lifestyle,” said Bill Bullock, senior vice president at Minto Communities, a residential building group that’s partnered with commercial developer Sutton Properties Inc. and Buffett’s Margaritaville brand to bring the community to Jasper County.
He, too, said there would be a bridge of sorts near the front entrance, and he said the immediate entrance off U.S. 278 would be “free-flowing” and open to the public. There will be a guard house farther back in the development, he said, beyond the retail area he hopes will attract motorists traveling nearby I-95.
The interstate is a big part of Minto’s plan.
The developer looks for five things when planning a community like Latitude Margaritaville, and one of the first is access — so, a major roadway like I-95 and proximity to an airport.
Minto also looks to see if existing businesses are near a prospective site.
Access to nearby medical care is another consideration.
So, too, is the presence of nearby colleges and universities that offer adults continuing education opportunities.
Finally, the developer has to have all these things in a temperate coastal climate.
“And then you find a big enough piece of land at the right price point to ensure affordability (of housing),” Bullock said. “That’s the secret sauce. We did it in Daytona (Beach, Fla.), and we’re doing it again here.”
The 72-acre retail lot will be divided into three distinct parcels and feature a village-style setup.
Bullock said spaces could be occupied by grocery stores, pet spas and doctors offices, among other stores and shops. He reiterated the “definite possibility” of a hotel, another attraction that might draw motorists traveling the nearby interstate.
But the retail area won’t be ready by the time the first residents move it, he said. Instead, it will follow a pattern similar to that of the Daytona Beach, Latitude Margarita development, which should start housing its first community members in March. At that site, Bullock expects stores and shops to open within a year of the first residents’ move-in.
Latitude Margaritaville Hilton Head’s sales center opens Feb. 17. On that day, prospective buyers — aged 55 and up — can put money down to reserve a lot and home of their choice, or they can forgo a deposit and just get a feel for the place. Whatever they decide to do, they can to set up a March 10 follow-up appointment with a contractor to talk about construction.
But it will be “first come, first serve” Feb. 17, Bullock said. And while there’s no pressure to make a financial commitment before March 10, he said, people who don’t make a deposit might not get the lot they want.
Deposits will cost $10,000. They are refundable until the final contract is signed March 10. Homes in the community will range from the “mid-$200,000s to upper-$300,000s,” he said.
The sales center will be equipped with technology that can produce three-dimensional computer renderings and floor plans complete with elevations and other dimensions, but physical model homes won’t be on site until June or July.