Latitude Margaritaville Hilton Head is officially open for business.
The 55-and-up retirement community in Hardeeville opened its sales center at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning to a line of around 30 people hoping to get a look at what the community will offer, and possibly reserve a lot by putting down a deposit.
While there was a short line of potential buyers when the doors opened, it was not nearly as long as the one on opening day at Latitude Margarita Daytona Beach in October 2017.
In Daytona Beach, potential buyers were able to park overnight in order to be the first in line to reserve their lot, and when the doors opened there were roughly 200 people waiting in line.
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According to Chris Reese, director of community development, Minto Communities and Latitude Margaritaville Hilton Head decided not to allow overnight parking this time.
Reese said they made the decision on Friday afternoon for safety reasons.
“We don’t want people in RVs turning off their lights at night and risk getting hit by vehicles driving down the main road,” Reese said.
Reese said that as of early Friday evening, they had turned away several people who had intended to park and camp out overnight.
“We want this to be an enjoyable experience for everyone, and the feedback that we got was that the huge line and having people camp out was very stressful for those involved,” said Bill Bullock, senior vice president at Minto Communities.
Bullock said he does not think the smaller crowd right at the opening of the Hilton Head location was related to the late decision to not allow people to camp out over night, and is more related to the three-week preview period before contracts with contractors are officially signed on March 10.
“We want this experience to reflect what we are about, which is fun and relaxation,” Bullock said.
Despite the smaller crowd at the opening, lot sales were successful.
Within the first 45 minutes, six people had reserved lots by putting down a $10,000 deposit.
Cindy Bennett, from Fort Mill, S.C., was the first person to reserve her lot.
“I’m very excited to get started,” Bennett said. “I just want to spend this time of my life relaxing and enjoying myself.”
Bennett got to the sales center at around 7 a.m. to get into line.
“I just feel relieved. I was a little nervous when I got here, but now I am just feeling excited and like I made the right choice,” said Bennett.
Other potential buyers were not as excited.
Jenny Caldwell, from Augusta, Ga., was the second person to reserve a lot, but she is going to look at other options in the area before signing the final contract.
“I feel like the experience and ambiance were great, but I just felt like the choices for the initial design of the house were cheap and they should have had more upgrades compared to Sun City and some of the other communities in the area.”
If you weren’t able to make it out to the sales center Saturday, no worries – it will be open Sunday as well.