Sun City Hilton Head will expand farther into Jasper County as the community nears build-out at its current locations, according to a master plan submitted to the City of Hardeeville by owner the PulteGroup earlier this year.
The plan involves more than 200 acres that abuts the community's second phase.
Katie Woodruff, a planner with Hardeeville, said Monday that the master plan was submitted to the planning commission on Feb. 14 and approved by city council March 15.
The city won't have a time frame for the start of construction until the PulteGroup submits site details and Hardeeville approves them.
Hardeeville Mayor Harry Williams said the maximum density allows 451 new homes to be constructed.
"People are excited about the growth that it (Sun City) can bring to Jasper, and the additional income to the city is important," Williams said Monday afternoon.
When the PulteGroup was contacted on Monday, Charlie Tipton, Coastal Carolinas division president, responded with an emailed quote.
"We have seen great ongoing success during our tenure building in Sun City Hilton Head and this expansion will allow us to keep up with the growing demand we continue to experience.”
The U.S. 278 corridor along the Beaufort and Jasper county line continues to grow.
About five miles away is Latitude Margaritaville Hilton Head, which reportedly had more than 2,500 people come through its doors on June 30 to tour nine model homes, according to an email sent by William Bullock, president of Latitude Margaritaville, a Minto community.
The Town of Hardeeville also has announced a mega-development of both commercial and residential properties dubbed the East Argent Community.
The developer, Argent Land Holdings LLC, has plans for 20,000 new residents on the more than 7,000-acre plot of land north of U.S. 278.
The area south of U.S. 278 where Sun City first put down roots more than 20 years ago is at capacity, according to Carter Faucette, general sales manager for the PulteGroup in the Hilton Head market. The last home on that side of the development closed about eight months ago, she said last week.
She said the group has about 500 homes left to build on the north side of U.S. 278 and said Sun City is looking for "another phase of the community."
That community is facing growing competition.
Margaritaville is offering both single-family homes and villas — a home where two different residents share a roof and a wall. In fact, the development says 50 percent of its construction will be villas.
Sun City has made single-family homes its bread and butter and scaled back on shared roofs.
Sun City has 10 home styles in three collections and has continued to offer more style options, Faucette said.
John Binder, a commercial real estate broker with Charter One Realty, who has been a part of several of the larger land deals along U.S. 278 in Jasper and Beaufort counties, said one huge tract of land west of Margaritaville remains undeveloped and that Argent has pieces that are "still open."
Could this be Sun City's last phase?
"It's always possible they (developers) could lose out" if undeveloped land gets gobbled up by developers, Binder said.
Developers don't want to buy too much land until they start running out of units, he said. "You want to buy two to three years of inventory (land), not 10 (years) ... otherwise you get stuck with too much" if sales diminish or the market slumps.
"As they (developers) work their way through the land ... and all is going well ... if the market looks good, they'll go buy."