Minto Communities, a Florida-based developer, recently announced plans to build a Jimmy Buffett-inspired Margaritaville residential community in Hardeeville geared toward Parrotheads 55-years and older.
The development — called Latitude Margaritaville Hilton Head — is set to be built just south of U.S. 278, which begs the question: How will it differentiate itself from it’s fellow retirement community and future neighbor Sun City Hilton Head?
While Latitude Margaritaville will be large — about 3,000 homes spread across roughly 2,700 acres — it will be nowhere near as sprawling as Sun City.
With two community centers spread across portions of both Beaufort and Jasper counties, Sun City spans about 5,000 acres and is home to about 15,000 residents and 8,000 homes, according to Valerie Dolenga with Sun City’s developer Del Webb.
Publicly accessible retail space
Like Sun City, Latitude Margaritaville will be a gated community with neighborhoods accessible only to residents and guests.
However, plans for the new development include a 72-acre retail, dining and entertainment area with public access directly off U.S. 278.
“What’s unique to the Latitude Margaritaville Hilton Head community is the publicly accessible — but also golf cart accessible for our residents — retail center,” Minto Communities senior vice president William Bullock said earlier this week.
Sun City Hilton Head has three golf courses within its gates: Argent Lakes, Okatie Creek and Hidden Cypress.
Minto does not plan to add a course to the Latitude Margaritaville community in Hardeeville.
“There is such an abundance of golfing opportunities throughout the (U.S. 278) corridor,” Bullock said. “... We’ve done some research and determined that golf is still an important sport, but it doesn’t rank as high as it did 10 or 15 years ago.”
But he said the developer will pursue partnerships with nearby courses to provide “residents with VIP membership programs.”
“So if somebody wants that golf opportunity, it will be available,” he said.
Marketing materials for Sun City tout the community’s three golf courses and more than 100 clubs, activity groups and volunteer organizations.
While Bullock said Latitude Margaritaville also plans to foster community engagement through clubs, it’s the “no worries” attitude espoused by Buffett that will define the lifestyle of the development.
“We focus our amenities on lifestyle, wellness, food, fun and music,” he said. “We are going to have regular concerts, and live music is going to be a big part of the socialization aspect of the community.”
While Bullock couldn’t promise the man himself would be on-hand for any groundbreaking ceremonies, he said, “You never know when or where he’s going show up and play a concert.”
Bullock said the community will likely hold music events that will be broadcast on Buffett’s SiruisXM satellite radio channel.
The majority of the homes in Sun City sit in unincorporated Beaufort County, while the adjacent Latitude Margaritaville is in the Jasper County municipal limits of the City of Hardeeville.
This can present some significant property tax ramifications.
Sun City South residents pay property taxes exclusively to Beaufort County, which has a lower tax rate than Jasper County.
Their neighbors across U.S. 278 in Sun City North — along with future residents of Latitude Margaritaville — pay taxes to both Jasper County and Hardeeville.
A report late last year by The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette found that residents in the smaller Hardeeville section of Sun City often pay up to three times the amount of property tax as their neighbors in Beaufort County.