UPDATE ON Shelter Cove Towne Centre

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KROGER WILL OPEN IN JANUARY; SERG GIVES DETAILS ON POSEIDON RESTAURANT

sheltercove-logoSelect details are emerging as construction continues on the $76 million Shelter Cove Towne Centre, and folks involved in the mid-island redevelopment project envision a finished product worthy of lingering attention from visitors and islanders alike.

“Ultimately we’re trying to make this a place that truly lives up to it name,” said Roni Allbritton, general manager for Blanchard & Calhoun, the commercial developer partnering with Kroger Co. on the 42-acre site featuring fresh shopping, dining and leisure options. “We want this to be a place where people can spend all day playing and having a good time.”

A playground area and fiveacre park nestled along Broad Creek with a public pier will bolster that goal along with a bike path linking the Centre to the rest of the island. Final phase construction set for completion in 2015 will also include 210 creek side rental housing units, but initial offerings are only a matter of weeks away.

Demolition crews will erase most traces of the moribund Mall at Shelter Cove this month, leaving only a pair of existing Belk department store buildings as new construction heads toward the debut of Hilton Head’s first Kroger’s grocery store. And, befitting the nation’s largest supermarket chain, the earth-toned façade will house more than 87,000 square-feet of food-related items, making it more than twice as large as any existing island market.

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“Everything is pretty much on schedule,” said Blanchard & Calhoun president Mark Senn, “so we’re looking at Kroger opening in January (2014).” A quartet of freestanding buildings that will flank a new central roadway and entrance off U.S. 278 will soon follow, providing welcome new digs by early spring for remaining mall tenants Jos. A. Banks clothiers and a GNC health store. Lease agreements have been finalized with a longtime local fixture, Heritage Fine Jewelry, and newcomer Jake’s Wayback Burgers, a small yet expanding fast-serve chain based in Delaware.

sheltercove-logo3The SERG group, which operates seven restaurants on the island, is taking the wraps off an ambitious new dining and retail concept. “The restaurant will be called Poseidon and we’ll be serving coastal cuisine from every coast with an oyster bar, outdoor dining and a rooftop bar with views of Broad Creek,” said SERG group CEO Steve Carb. “We’re also going to have the informal Seaside Seafood Shack serving lobster rolls, fried clams and smoked fish for take-out so people can have a picnic in the park.”

The 10,000-square-foot SERG complex will also include the group’s first retail venture offering everything from picnic supplies to furniture and sundry household goods. “We’re trying to bring the pages of Coastal Living magazine to life,” said Carb, who hopes to have everything up and running by sometime next spring. “We’re excited and have been working on the concept for three years, so the sooner the better.”

Additional retail outlets have yet to be announced as Towne Centre officials understandably prefer to space out such news for maximum publicity impact. “We have a lot of leases out right now and we’re excited about the makeup,” said general manager Allbritton. “It’s going to be a mix of local, regional and national tenants so we’re confident there’s going to something for everyone. The park is a central part of this and we’re going to be a very active part of the community by staging fashion shows, fundraisers and other events.”

The original Mall at Shelter Cove was built in 1988 featuring about 295,000-squarefeet of retail outlets under the same roof. However, it eventually fell on hard times as the economy sputtered and enclosed malls tumbled out of fashion. No shortage of tenants fled to Tanger Outlet branches in Bluffton and the fate of the faltering Mall became a hot topic a few years back.

“Today is an era of online shopping and a lot of malls have to adapt to that change,” Senn said. “It’s become very important to give people a great experience and make (shopping) an event.” He credits Town of Hilton Head officials for crucial support on a redevelopment project that integrates commercial expansion with a long-running philosophy of highlighting the island’s natural beauty.

“We’re looking forward to moving this coming spring,” said Jennifer Lance, daughter of Heritage Fine Jewelry owner Patti Catalano. The family business, located at aging and redevelopmentready Pineland Station shopping plaza for the past 24 years, will relocate to a 2,400-square-foot space at Towne Centre that will include a walk-in vault and added display space.

“It’s still going to be a comfortable and informal family-run business but we’re excited, not just for ourselves but for the entire island,” she added. “This kind of project is something we’ve lacked.”