The changing face of Hilton Head’s south end: When the park, 6-story hotel will open

Construction cones along Pope Avenue on Hilton Head Island’s south end are nearly as familiar a sight as families on bikes.

Two major projects underway — the Lowcountry Celebration Park and the Marriott Courtyard hotel — will come together in the next year, their contractors say, changing the face of the town’s main drag.

Also in the works on the south end: revitalization of the Cordillo tennis courts, which have fallen into disrepair since the town bought them in 2002.

The Town of Hilton Head Island’s parks and recreation commission heard updates on two park projects Thursday.

Follow along as we move from the ocean to Sea Pines Circle on Pope Avenue to see how the area will change in the next year:

Lowcountry Celebration Park

Construction on the Coligny-area park began in summer 2018 and incorporated a paving project along Pope Avenue.

After months of traffic rerouting and closed pathways, the paving project is complete, town urban designer Chris Darnell said Thursday.

Lowcountry Celebration Park.png
The proposed plan for “Lowcountry Celebration Park”, which is set to be completed in May of 2020. Roadwork on Pope Road necessary to control traffic flow will begin Tuesday, Sept. 4. released from Parks and Recreation website

The intersection of Pope Avenue and Lagoon Road will soon have a traffic signal to direct traffic into the park. Crews have drained the existing lagoon, Darnell said, and laid the foundation of the future bathroom building at the park’s entrance.

Once completed, the park will have a football-sized green space, community band shell, lagoon and playground. Town staff have ordered the playground parts this summer. It will be installed next April, Darnell said.

A replica of William Hilton’s “Adventure” will be a major focal point of the future “Lowcountry Celebration Park” children’s playground on Hilton Head Island near Coligny Beach Park. Wood Partners Inc

The anticipated opening date of the park is summer 2020, he said.

Along the Nassau Street and Lagoon Road sides of the park will be 90 on-street parking spots. Darnell said they should be ready by the St. Patrick’s Day parade in March.

A mural has been approved for the construction fencing along Pope Avenue, Darnell said.

This photo illustration is a representation of how a mural would be used on construction fencing along Pope Avenue rather than the normal construction material, as seen on the right, that would normally be used to block construction sites according to the Town of Hilton Head Island. Local artist Jessie Renew produced the mural that will be placed on the construction fencing fronting Pope Avenue during the construction of the town’s Lowcountry Celebration Park. Drew Martin

New six-story hotel with rooftop bar and pool

Across the street from the future Lowcountry Celebration Park, the Marriott Courtyard hotel will have six floors and be topped with a rooftop pool and bar.

The 115-room hotel was expected to be complete Sept. 15, but the opening date is now anticipated in early November, project manager John Lee told The Island Packet Monday afternoon.

“It’s about 60 to 70 percent complete,” Lee said. “Construction is going well, and we have about 80 men there each day working.”

Along with the new hotel, nearby businesses are getting a makeover to match the style of the new hotel, including New York City Pizza, Plantation Deli, Sage Room, and Bicycle Billy’s, according to the developer website.

Ponder & Ponder - Courtyard by Marriott Hilton Head lower.jpg
Southeastern Development Associates, submitted.

Cordillo Courts project

Up the road from the Marriott and the Lowcountry Celebration Park, one of the two publicly accessible tennis facilities on the island is also under construction.

During phase one of the Cordillo Courts project, crews removed the broken fence around the tennis courts, resurfaced the four courts and installed a new fence and windscreen, according to senior planner for the town, Anne Cyran.

In early May, the Town of Hilton Head Island received a $40,000 grant from the United States Tennis Association to refurbish the tennis courts. Work began shortly after.

Fresh asphalt at the Cordillo Courts on Hilton Head Island will be resurfaced, coated green and striped for four new courts by mid-July, according to town staff. The resurfacing project also includes a restroom building, which is set to be built later this year. Town of Hilton Head Island Special to The Island Packet

Now that the first phase of the project is complete, Cyran said the second phase — which will include a restroom and storage facility — can begin later this year.

Phase 2 was originally supposed to include a community building for the tennis facility, but Cyran said the covenants placed on the land in a 2002 sale from Dennis Van Der Meer, the founder of Van Der Meer Tennis, prohibit any type of community building, instead requiring the land to be used only for tennis purposes.

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The first phase of the Cordillo Tennis Courts project on Hilton Head’s south end. Town of Hilton Head Island Submitted

Parks and Recreation commission members lamented that inflexibility.

Michael Ray, who sits on the commission, said owners of surrounding properties wanted to buy the courts and are now blocking the development of the community center, citing the covenants that require the land to be used only for tennis.

The two-part project was originally estimated to be complete by November 2019, and carried a price tag of between $650,000 and $700,000, according to Scott Liggett, the town’s director of public projects and facilities and chief engineer.

The project has been funded by the USTA grant and through Sunday liquor permit sales, according to the town website.

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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.