The company that owns Sea Turtle Marketplace on Hilton Head Island announced the firing of its CEO — Jon S. Wheeler — via a news release Tuesday sending alarm bells through the real estate world.
Contractors for the Sea Turtle Marketplace project — which has already experienced a bumpy road — said Wednesday they are reconsidering their relationship with Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust, Inc., the developer.
“We need to understand where Wheeler is headed after this bit of news,” Kevin Kiernan, Sandcastle Constructors director of business development, said. “We have hung in there with Wheeler for a long time. Sandcastle will have to understand the ramifications and see if we will continue the relationship.”
Wheeler did not responded to a request for comment Wednesday.
Sandcastle has already completed construction on three anchor buildings — two of which are occupied. West Marine and Petsmart opened in the buildings last fall.
Two outparcels that sit along U.S. 278 are currently under construction by Sandcastle. The buildings are slated to hold Another Broken Egg, Jersey Mikes, Nail Talk & Polished Spa and Fiamme Italian Kitchen.
Kiernan said Sandcastle is unsure they would want to continue developing the rest of the Wheeler property — which includes another outparcel at the corner of U.S. 278 and Mathews Drive. The Starbucks, which recently burnt down, also sits on Wheeler property.
If approved by the Town of Hilton Head Island, a Lidl Grocery Store could sit nearby Wheeler’s property but wouldn’t be owned by the developer, Kiernan said.
Construction halted in 2016 at the former Pineland Station site as Jon Wheeler worked at restructuring financing for the project.
Kiernan shortly after the holdup filed a $890,801 mechanics lien against the former and current property owners for work performed and materials supplied.