Shelter Cove Towne Centre developers have set their sights on a new look for the planned apartments near the shopping center on Hilton Head Island.
But several Town Council members said Tuesday that the proposed apartments, which include a 5-story, 210-unit building, might be too ambitious for the redevelopment along Broad Creek.
"I like the look of the building, but it's big," Mayor Drew Laughlin said. "It makes the Kroger (at Shelter Cove) look small."
Augusta, Ga.-based Blanchard & Calhoun Commercial wants permission to exceed the 4-story height restriction set out in their development agreement with the town.
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They also want to increase the number of apartments allowed and shift 30 units from the west side of the development, near Belk, to the east side, near Kroger.
The changes would allow for as many as 50 multi-family, 2-story apartments on the west side. Each two-bedroom unit would have about 1,840 square feet and a two-car garage. Previously approved plans showed 3-story buildings with 76 apartments, each of 1,000 square feet. The developers said they lowered the height after hearing complaints from nearby Newport Villas residents.
On the east side, a 5-story complex would house as many as 210 units at an average of 1,640 square feet. Previously approved plans allowed for a 4-story complex with 134 units, each of 1,000 square feet.
Preliminary sketches of the complex show green space for bocce ball, putting greens and a swimming pool. A five-story parking deck with 346 spaces would be part of the complex. The deck would replace a parking lot shown in previously approved plans.
"The parking deck will allow residents to drive up to their level, park at their level, take in their groceries on their level," said Mark Senn, president of the development company.
He said the project upgrades would cost about $15 million, bringing total project costs to about $55 million.
The developers said expanding the size of each unit would meet a demand for high-end apartments on the island. The cost of rent has not been determined, Senn said.
The project would turn Shelter Cove into a thriving mixed-use district, they argued.
"We have a rare opportunity for a new-urban concept here," said architect Ellen Garland. "We can have an array of housing, shopping, entertainment, dining and public parking in the community.
Councilman Bill Harkins said if that goal was realized, parking could become an issue.
"We seem to be thinking of a lot of things here in advance of parking," he said.
He also worried about the 5-story, 210-unit complex. He said his constituents weren't happy with the prospect of it looming 50 feet from the Broad Creek marsh.
"It creates a visual that hasn't been well-received," he said.
But several Shelter Cove-area residents disagreed.
They said hotels along Broad Creek have similar facades.
"It's really not that much different from the Marriott structure down the marsh," said Charles Davis, president of Shelter Cove Harbour Co.
Council took no action on the proposed changes Tuesday.
The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on those changes at a date that has not been set, according to town manager Steve Riley.
From there, council must approve the changes twice before they can proceed.
Follow reporter Dan Burley on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Dan.