HERE’S WHAT’S HAPPENING IN TOWN
BRIDGE AT CALHOUN FILLING UP
We’ve seen The Bridge at Calhoun take shape over the past year, and now developer Matt Cunningham said the mixed-use center at the corner of Calhoun and Bridge Street is finally full of activity.
The space’s building got certificates of occupancy in mid-October and filled up with residential and commercial tenants. Cunningham said the second-story living quarters have six of the 11 units occupied — three with residents and three being used as AirBNB rentals.
The Bridge’s six commercial units are also filling up. African-Caribbean eatery, Okan, is in the final stages of buildout, with the restaurant slated for a late February opening. Savannah men’s and women’s clothier J Parker Ltd is also constructing their first Lowcountry store, and Cunningham said the timeline is on track for a March 2023 opening.
Cunningham said a home décor shop and a high-end lingerie shop are also set to open later in 2023. The two remaining spaces are both hot commodities, as the developer said he hopes to finalize negotiations on the last commercial partners by the end of December. Art will be a focus at The Bridge, with two framed-in canvas spaces built into the building design to house a rotating lineup of local artists.
RIVER DOG COMING TO OLD TOWN
Local brewer River Dog has received preliminary plan approval from the Bluffton Planning Commission to open a 50,000-square-foot facility on Jennifer Court near the intersection of May River Road and Buck Island Road.
The building blueprint wraps around the Parker’s property, with a 20,000 square-foot brewery space and 30,000 square feet reserved for a food hall, retail space, tasting room, business offices, and a beer garden.
The plan was met with ardent opposition from neighborhood residents, especially from the Red Cedar Street homeowners that are adjacent to the proposed brewery. The Commission’s Aug. 24 preliminary approval was contingent on the developer addressing all community concerns around privacy and parking.
There are more approval stages before the plan goes before Town Council for a final vote. Co-owner Dawna Gray first made a proposal to return to the Jennifer Court location in 2018. This plan is two and a half times bigger than the earlier proposal.
MINI GOLF PLANNED FOR BLUFFTON
Lighthouse Lagoon is turning into one of the more epic development stories of the COVID era. The 1.3- acre project, Bluffton’s first miniature golf course, is being built across from Station 300 in the lot next to Subway at Buckwalter Place.
The 18-hole miniature golf course was first announced in February 2021 with a planned summer 2021 opening. The development plan was approved by the town in August 2021, with a new opening date set for spring 2022.
Developers Billy and Collin Hubbard have endured one supply chain issue after the next. The basic concrete framing of the course was completed in July, complete with a lighthouse that, when painted, will be a mini version of one on Hunting Island. But a delay in the course carpet combined with a construction worker shortage has pushed back the timeline further.
“It has been an epic journey. I was born here, I know there are few entertainment options that everyone in a family will enjoy,” Billy Hubbard said.
Hubbard said the latest delay is precast concrete storm drain piping that has been on back order for months. The site prep contractor is anticipating getting the piping on site in the next month.
Then they will construct the 1,300-square-foot building which will house golf clubs and balls, concessions and access to bathrooms. There will also be an 840-squarefoot pavilion to host parties of up to 40 people.
Hubbard said that if all pieces fall into place, they hope to have Lighthouse Lagoon open by March 2023.
ROASTING ROOM’S FINAL SHOWS
It has been a year of transition at The Promenade in Old Town, and that trend continues through the fall with the most seismic turnover just announced.
Owner Josh Cooke announced on Nov. 12 that The Roasting Room music venue will not be booking musical acts in 2023. The Room’s last shows will be right where they started in 2015, with acclaimed singer/songwriter Angie Aparo playing two shows on Dec. 22-23.
“I can’t pin any one thing as the reason we’re closing. It’s just a mix of a lot of events and signs that it was time,” Cooke said of the closure.
The Corner Perk owner will continue to own the space on the second floor of the caffeine epicenter of Old Town. Cooke said he has hired a new catering coordinator to focus on booking parties in the space.
“And if you want to throw a party with a local musician, I’m sure we can find a few thrilled to play in the space,” Cooke said.
Could The Roasting Room get a reboot down the road? “This is the end of one chapter. We’re open to however the story continues to play out.”
Women’s clothing store Cocoon and gift shop Lily Bluffton both closed at the end of October. The Lily space will be used as office space, while the Cocoon space has been rented out for retail use.
Ben and Jerry’s closed at the end of summer and is being converted into a wine and charcuterie café. Corks closed in July and is being converted into an upscale seafood, Crudo, by restaurateur Brian Behnke. Cookware shop Cassandra’s Kitchen opened next to the former Corks space in September.
MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING PLANNED
Bluffton is aiming to build more affordable housing units on a 1.78-acre site at 1095 May River Road. The town has formed a public-private partnership with developer Workplace State of Mind LLC, a group led by managing partner State Rep. Bill Herbkersman.
The plan is to build 12 affordable housing homes on the town-owned site, a purchase made in 2018 after 12 years of setting funds aside for such affordable housing land buys. Under the partnership agreement, the town will donate the land and reimburse the developer for the planning, permitting, design and infrastructure costs.
The neighborhood will be protected by a 30-year affordability covenant. That means the homes will be reserved for income-qualified buyers for 30 years.
The projected homes will be split among three Area Median Income categories — 60, 80 and 100 percent of the region’s median income, currently set at $76,480 for a family of two and $95,600 for a family of four.
BY TIM WOOD | PHOTO SUPPLIED