A plan to redevelop The Mall at Shelter Cove won unanimous backing Friday of a Town of Hilton Head Island panel.
The Planning Commission applauded the developer and the plans, which call for 295,000 square feet of commercial space. It also includes 210 apartments, many of which would be built along Broad Creek in what is now Shelter Cove Community Park. A new community park would be created. Plans also call for liquor and gas sales.
The proposed land-use changes for the redevelopment also were praised May 31 by the Town Council.
Developers said the complex would take about 18 months to build and generate about 250 jobs. Much of the mall would be demolished, except for Belk department store and an area that would become a Kroger supermarket.
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A real estate affiliate of The Kroger Co. purchased the 42-acre property and 300,000-square-foot mall in August for about $17.3 million.
Mark Senn, president of development firm Blanchard & Calhoun, said Friday the redevelopment would create "an energized retail center that has shopping and dinning" and public access to Broad Creek.
Commissioners also recommended approval of relocating Shelter Cove Lane farther inland to allow for a waterfront park and apartments. The street would create a waterfront drive that would intersect a new pedestrian-friendly road that would have a variety of businesses and on-street parking.
The plans would require a land swap. The town would give about five acres to the developers for the apartments. In exchange, the developers would give about the same amount of land for the waterfront park. Shelter Cove Community Park would remain open until the new waterfront park is completed, Senn said.
Senn and project attorney Wes Jones said the waterfront park would create a place where people could gather.
"The mall is a fortress and has turned its back to the water," Senn said. Area residents and commissioners agreed.
Charles Davis, president of the Shelter Cove Harbour Co., said the company's board of directors supports the project "100 percent."
Some residents of neighboring Newport Villas, however, objected to allowing liquor and gas sales and were concerned about increased stormwater runoff from added parking.
Newport Villas resident Barbara Hall told commissioners she objected to "low-class housing with apartments."
Jones said the apartments would cater to a neglected market of "high-end renters," such as young couples, single professionals and retirees who choose not to own a home.
"There used to be thousands of apartments (on Hilton Head). ... Over the past several years they've been converted into condos," Jones said.
Town Council has the final say on the project but has not determined when it will take a vote, town development review administrator Heather Colin said. The project will require two more public hearings, as well as approval from the town's Design Review Board and its Parks and Recreation Commission, he added.