Lolita Huckaby

Lowcountry Lowdown


Make way for more shopping opportunities 

BEAUFORT – Plans for a 197,000-square foot commercial development, Beaufort Station, are inching forward, receiving preliminary approval from the city last week. 

The development on 30 acres of heavily wooded land owned by the John Gray family is located at the intersection of Robert Smalls Parkway and the Parris Island Gateway, across the highway from Walmart Supercenter, Belks and T.J. Maxx stores. 

It’s probably a good thing the project is moving forward since S.C. Department of Transportation is busy erecting a new stop light as well as traffic medians along the Parkway to serve the development. 

The city even issued a “heads up” notice to the public last week that the road work was progressing but according to a very reliable source the Highway Patrol is already writing warnings enforcing the as-yet-none-existent medians. 

Charlotte developers representing the Beaufort Station told the city Design Review Board last week planning for the project has been in the works for the past three years. 

They did NOT say who the tenants would be, although they stated the smaller units were already “60 to 70 percent occupied with very little effort.”

Names like Starbucks, Chipotle, and Old Navy were dropped into the discussion which board members said they hoped would bring some traffic relief to the existing Starbucks on Boundary Street.

It’s going to be interesting to see the race to see that strip of Robert Smalls be developed. Starting with what was the Beaufort Plaza, where the marketing team there is looking for tenants to neighbor the proposed new Publix which hasn’t broken ground yet.

Then there’s the car dealership community, farther south and the new Harbor Freight, … a new carwash and a new Verizon store, less than a mile from where the existing Verizon is located.

With the new apartment complexes being built along the Parkway, closer to the Broad River Bridge and the new residences being built on old Salem Road, developers with their high-priced land consultants apparently know what they’re doing.

P.S. The DRB also gave conceptual approval for redevelopment of the former Carver Brothers building supply at the intersection of Parris Island Gateway and Boundary Street/U.S. 21.

Developers want to turn that vacant structure into a storage facility, to store all the retail stuff folks are going to have the increased opportunity to buy.

Now Dragonboat looking for a home

BEAUFORT – While new development keeps taking up more land and clearing more trees, another non-profit boating activity is facing the threat of homelessness.

Dragonboat Beaufort found out last month they would no longer be welcome at the Port Royal Landings, now that Safe Harbor Marinas is the new owner.

The nonprofit, which raises dollars to help those with cancer, have used the Landings docks since 2013.

For those not familiar with Dragonboat Beaufort, it’s an international organization of rowing teams who band together to raise money and support for cancer patients. The teams compete around the country and when the event is held locally, hundreds of participants and visitors flock to the area, booking hotel rooms, eating in restaurants, etc.

The Beaufort Rowing Club had to vacate their home dock when new owners of the dock tripled the rent.

Representatives of both groups are contacting private communities, land owners and other marinas hoping for water access.

All while the same Safe Harbor that owns the former Port Royal Landings and is believed to be the potential buyer of the Grey Ghost LLC property on Battery Creek, plan what has been described as a 300-boat marina.

Update on Grey Ghost

PORT ROYAL – Wording changes that could facilitate the sale of the former Port of Port Royal property on Battery Creek, cleared the Municipal Planning Commission last week, advancing action into the Town Council’s court.

In a special meeting held to accommodate current owners of the property, Grey Ghost Properties LLC, and the potential buyers, the MPC members spent an hour tweaking changes to the 2017 Planned Unit Agreement, or PUD, which outlines what can, or cannot be built on the waterfront property.

The Commission’s approval sends the proposed changes to the Town Council for a public hearing on July 7.

Stay tuned. A lot of people are eager to see something done on the property … they’re just not sure what.

Lolita Huckaby Watson is a community volunteer and former reporter/editorial assistant/columnist with The Beaufort Gazette, The Savannah Morning News, Bluffton Today, Beaufort Today and The Robesonian (Lumberton, N.C.). She can be reached at bftbay@gmail.com.

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