The former maritime terminal in Port Royal, South Carolina, located in Beaufort County, has been sold after being closed 13 years ago by Governor Mark Sanford’s administration. A group of investors won an auction for the property from the state for $9 million in September. “This is the most highly anticipated project on the South Carolina coast in the past decade,” said Columbia real estate broker Whit Suber to the Post & Courier. “This is not Disney. It’s something you have to make up. You have a real village here.”
The developers envision transforming the 317 acres of land with 400 residences, retail stores and restaurants, a hotel and marina capable of docking large yachts at the historic waterfront in Beaufort County. Grey Ghost Properties, the developers of the project, plan to spend about $200 million to develop the site. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort said “it is a chance to transform this town.”
Grey Ghost Properties plan to first reopen the boat storage building during the next 18 months, construct a waterfront walkway, and restart the seafood market and Dockside restaurant, which were closed in 2015 due to a fire. The developers want to reopen a shrimp processing plan and draw shrimp boats back to the old port site at the southern end of town. “We want to have a working man’s feel to it,” Mr. Suber told the Post & Courier. “Our design concept is not Boca Raton. It’s Port Royal. We want to have an authentic Lowcountry feel to it.”
Developers plan to borrow design ideas from Saint Augustine, Florida, and plan to open some areas only for pedestrians. They are considering expanding the 10 mile Spanish Moss Trail which starts at the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort and extends down to the waterfront at Port Royal. The two mile waterfront will have shops and restaurants, and a five story hotel at the marine terminal site along Battery Creek. The developers plan to build about 120 homes on a bluff overlooking the waterfront. The marina is expected to have up to 225 slips with room for up to a dozen mega yachts to attract the more affluent cruising between New York and Miami. The development may eventually include multifamily housing that would bring the total number of dwellings up to 400.
The Port Royal Town manager, Van Willis, is excited about the Port Royal redevelopment plan to open up the waterfront to the rest of the town. He told the Post & Courier that “reknitting the waterfront with the rest of town was most important to us,” and he advocated for it when former Governor Mark Sanford was in office. He added, “we want to connect with the nicest piece of property in town.”
Source: “A long time coming,” by Andy Shain, Post & Courier, September 3, 2017
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