Every government entity in Beaufort County has an economic-development arm.
While these groups share similar goals, they've never been in the same room at the same time, they said.
That changed Thursday.
About 300 people packed Hampton Hall clubhouse in Bluffton to hear area officials discuss the challenges of economic development in the Lowcountry. The forum was hosted by the Beaufort County Association of Realtors and the Hilton Head Area Association of Realtors.
Never miss a local story.
Topics included making the most of public funding and the roadblocks facing each group.
All of the groups acknowledged limited public dollars make it difficult to attract business.
Lowcountry Economic Alliance director Kim Statler said more money would be used to buy land, add roads and utilities and market the area.
Companies want "200-plus acres, full infrastructure, and oh, by the way, they are not going to pay for the land," she said.
She said a local option sales tax would be the best way to raise money for economic-development projects, but admitted "the politics of the list" of projects make the tax a tough sell.
Other groups described their economic-development limitations.
For example, the Town of Hilton Head Island has a full stock of blighted office space but no shiny, new digs to lure corporate executives. "That's something we are going to have to address," said Don Kirkman, director of the town's Economic Development Corp.
Beaufort has limited land to develop and stringent regulations, said city Redevelopment Commission chairman Jonathan Verity.
"We're a little different than the rest of the municipalities," he said.
Town of Port Royal officials are hoping one of at least four bidders buys the abandoned Port of Port Royal, which the town wants developed. Town manager Van Willis said there was no news on that Thursday.
And the town of Bluffton, at 54 square miles, has something of an identity crisis.
It's median age is 33, but Forbes Magazine this year named it among the top 25 places to retire in the U.S.
"How do we navigate that?" town manager Marc Orlando asked.
Audience members said afterward the presentations painted a fuller picture of development issues across the county.
Some suggested that the Realtors should host the event annually.
"Economic development affects the way we live, our quality of life, how many jobs are available," said Brian Kinard, a real estate agent on Hilton Head. "It's good if we are all on the same page."
Follow reporter Dan Burley on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Dan.