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That empty, yellow building near Hilton Head bridges? Here’s what’s happening with it

From abandoned condos to a vacant hotel, here are 3 of Hilton Head’s biggest eyesores

Hilton Head Island has a number of vacant buildings that have turned into eyesores over the years. Here are three of the most well-known on the island, including the former Beachwalk Hotel.
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Hilton Head Island has a number of vacant buildings that have turned into eyesores over the years. Here are three of the most well-known on the island, including the former Beachwalk Hotel.

Whether you live on Hilton Head Island or are visiting, you’ve seen the Fairfield Square buildings.

They sit at 160 William Hilton Parkway near Spanish Wells Road — a sprawl of green and yellow buildings right before the entrance to the Cross Island Parkway.

Those buildings will have their day in front of Town of Hilton Head Island government later this month, when the owner will meet publicly with town officials to decide whether she’s going to demolish the square or get the buildings back in shape.

But it’s not likely the latter will happen, according to property owner Mina Bhakta, who said she doesn’t have any immediate development plans for the square.

“Something will be done, it is not going to be ‘as is,’” Bhakta said Friday. “If they want me to demolish, I will demolish.”

Bhakta said she could use more time to sell the property, but she’s just trying to get rid of it.

“I just want to sell the place, but we haven’t gotten anybody to give me a fair price,” she said Friday.

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Small, yellow outbuildings at 160 William Hilton Parkway sit abandoned along U.S. 278 as seen on April 2 visible to drivers as they come and go on Hilton Head Island. Drew Martin dmartin@islandpacket.com

What it once was

The square was once home to three businesses: Versatile Cafe & Restaurant, Tienda La Guadalupana grocery store and a Hilton Head visitor center.

In 2014, a fire broke out in the already-vacant welcome center, according to previous reporting by The Island Packet.

On June 25, Bhakta will meet with the construction board of adjustments and appeals in a public hearing about the conditions of her property, which the town has deemed “unsafe” for five reasons:

  1. The buildings aren’t secure and can be entered from several points.
  2. The roof has “collapsed in multiple areas and the structure is unstable.”
  3. Trash and construction debris is in and around the structure.
  4. Interior is exposed to the elements and “further degradation.”
  5. It’s in a state of “inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, obsolescence,” and is a fire hazard.

Bhakta said she has owned the property for four years, and said she’s had a few interested buyers over the years who would need to finance their takeover of the property if they bought it.

In recent months, Fairfield Square been floated as a potential location for an open-air Gullah-Geechee market, rejuvenated welcome center or even a gas station.

Town staff has decided the buildings should be made safe or otherwise demolished, according to the meeting agenda.

The meeting is a public hearing, and will be held at 5:30 p.m. on June 25 at Hilton Head Island Town Hall.

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Katherine Kokal moved to South Carolina in 2018 after graduating from the University of Missouri and loves everything about the Lowcountry that isn’t a Palmetto Bug. She has won South Carolina Press Association awards for in-depth and government beat reporting. On the weekends, you can find Kati doing yoga and hiking Pinckney Island.
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