Sea Pines Beach Club on Hilton Head to get $10 million facelift

Sea Pines Resort plans to spend more than $10 million to replace the Beach Club before next summer.

The plans call for a new, more than 25,000-square-foot facility with indoor and outdoor areas to be built on the site of the current club, off North Sea Pines Drive next to Marriott's Monarch at Sea Pines.

The new club will feature an indoor restaurant and bar; "fast casual" concessions such as pre-prepared sandwiches, salads and drinks; an open-air beach bar; a second-floor space for private receptions, conferences and parties; retail and office space; and expanded restrooms, showers and changing rooms.

The added indoor facilities will allow the club to operate year-round, rather than just eight months a year and during nice weather, according to Sea Pines Resort president Steve Birdwell.

The project is expected to begin this fall and will include tearing down the current club, built more than 40 years ago. Birdwell said he hopes construction will be completed before next year.

"Right now we have a really dated and tired facility that is really in need of replacement," Birdwell said, adding that the new club will remain "casual, with a beachy feeling to it."

"We're very much a family beach resort, and we think this new beach club is really planned for the long-term future for the resort," Birdwell said. "I think creating a great beachfront and beach experience ... is important as we think about the next 10, 20 and even 30 years."

The renovation is near another major reinvestment by the resort.

The Plantation Golf Club, which overlooks the Heron Point and Ocean golf courses, will be replaced by a $15 million clubhouse expected to be completed by February. The resort has also announced plans to rebuild the Harbor Town Golf Links clubhouse and construct a second clubhouse at the course.

In all, the resort has spent nearly $30 million on upgrades in the past five years, including renovations at the Inn at Harbour Town, a 2012 Forbes Four-Star Award hotel.

Some Sea Pines residents, however, are concerned the future Beach Club will mean less parking for beach-goers.

The new club will include 158 parking spaces, about 20 fewer than it has now.

Resident Karl Engelman said the Beach Club already lacks sufficient parking, especially during the summer, and building a larger facility that will bring more people to the area will make the problem worse.

The Plantation Golf Club currently has spill-over parking, and Birdwell said the resort is making plans to handle the increased traffic, including:

  • Tripling the number of bicycle parking spots to 300.
  • Offering a shuttle van to transport guests from the Inn at Harbour Town.
  • Regular stops by the resort's trolley service.
  • Off-site employee parking.

Birdwell said the resort also has considered offering valet parking.

Most commercial buildings on the island are required to offer a specific number of parking spaces in relation to the size of the building. However, beach club facilities are not held to a ratio, and the town cannot ask for more spaces, according to Nicole Dixon, town senior planner.

Though some residents have expressed concerns about the project, Chris Widnell, a board member of the Sea Pines Community Services Association and the Association of Sea Pines Property Owners, said it seems that "the majority is actually expressing enthusiasm rather than horror."

Plans for the club won approval April 2 from the Sea Pines Architectural Review Board. The Town of Hilton Head Island Design Review Board is expected to review the plans April 23.

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