Planning Ahead

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HARDEEVILLE OFFICIALS ARE PREPARING FOR GROWTH AS DEVELOPERS FLOCK TO THE REGION.

It’s not exactly a galaxy far, far away, but the city of Hardeeville — which Mayor Harry Williams has nicknamed “Starship: Hardeeville” — is focused on a bold vision of the future.

On the heels of the announcement that Jimmy Buffett’s Latitude Margaritaville residential community would be built in Hardeeville this year, the town also finalized an agreement with Argent Land Holdings to develop the 7,351-acre East Argent community, which is approved for up to 9,500 homes and 1.5 million square feet of commercial development over the next two decades.

Hardeeville has long had an aggressive approach to growth, annexing large swaths of once-unincorporated Jasper County that now could be the center of a population and job boom that are expected to coincide with the planned opening of the Jasper Ocean Terminal in 2025.

“There are going to be so many needs that this region is going to need just from that impact, and I think East Argent will be a help to that,” Williams said. “When Gov. (Nikki) Haley was here promoting the port almost two years ago, she said that upon full buildout of the port in 2040, a million new jobs would be produced for this region. I think that’s what builders and developers see. You have to start planning now for what is coming to this region.”

THE 7,351-ACRE EAST ARGENT COMMUNITY, WHICH IS APPROVED FOR UP TO 9,500 HOMES AND 1.5 MILLION SQUARE FEET OF COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT

While the master plan for East Argent has not been finalized, Williams said he does not anticipate a homogenous neighborhood but rather a “vast, multi-faceted project.” The development agreement allows for numerous types of housing, ranging from single-family homes to apartments and condominiums, as well as the potential for an age-restricted or gated community. The tract includes the existing Hampton Pointe and Hearthstone Lakes neighborhoods, which already include about 250 residential units but are still in the early stages of their development.

The agreement also protects about 3,000 of the 7,500 acres from development: 1,330 acres under conservation easement; 1,500 acres of swamp land; 81 acres for police and fire substations, active park, and a potential school site; and 181 acres that may be used for a passive park. Additionally, Argent Land Holdings has donated 15 acres to the YMCA and 25 acres to Osprey Village, a nonprofit group developing a residential neighborhood for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Best of all for the town, Williams said, development fees will provide funding for all the necessary infrastructure upgrades with no burden to taxpayers.

“The main point we tried to make sure the community understood is that the city is not obligated to fund any of the infrastructure, either immediately or temporarily,” Williams said. “It’s a very good thing for Hardeeville. … We’re getting the development, we’re getting the housing that the region needs so desperately, but at the same time it’s environmentally-sensitive, and that’s really one of the goals we have as a city.”

Williams recognizes there will be bumps along the road and has heard the community’s concerns — namely worries about increased traffic — but he’s quick to point out the growth won’t happen all at once, and Hardeeville and the entire Lowcountry will look very different when the development is projected to be completed in 20 years.

“Everything we talk about is a long-term plan,” Williams said. “We’re in long-range planning mode. We’re not racing to get something done in 2018, we’re racing to get something done in 2040."

East Argent

ANTICIPATED DEVELOPMENT TIMELINE

  • 2018
    RESIDENTIAL (UNITS) 250
    COMMERCIAL (SQ-FT) 0
  • 2022
    RESIDENTIAL (UNITS) 1,750
    COMMERCIAL (SQ-FT) 100,000
  • 2027
    RESIDENTIAL (UNITS) 2,500
    COMMERCIAL (SQ-FT) 400,000
  • 2032
    RESIDENTIAL (UNITS) 2,500
    COMMERCIAL (SQ-FT) 500,000
  • 2037
    RESIDENTIAL (UNITS) 2,500
    COMMERCIAL (SQ-FT) 500,000