Shelter Cove Towne Centre could be 'star' of island

BY DEAN ROWLAND | Hilton Head Sun | 

Out with the old Mall at Shelter Cove and in with the new Shelter Cove Towne Centre, a 290,000-square-foot mid-island gathering place for shoppers, diners and families alike. 

"It's an open-air center that will have multiple uses," said General Manager Roni Allbritton. "We want it to be a walking community-oriented place where people can feel like this is the place to be... located in the heart of the island so this will not only be good for Towne Centre and the developers, but for the island as a whole." 

When Kroger Real Estate purchased the 42-acre property in 2011 for a reported $17.3 million, they enlisted Blanchard & Calhoun Commercial of Augusta, Ga., as their development partner and manager. 

Their vision was to create a friendly, relaxed environment for shopping, dining, recreation and living, and they embarked on the $76 million, mixed used project about a year ago. The official groundbreaking for construction was held in April following months of demolition at the old Mall at Shelter Cove. 

"Kroger is excited to join the Hilton Head community," said Glynn Jenkins, Director of Communications and Public Relations for the Kroger Co.'s Atlanta division. 

Kroger's 88,000 SF grocery store, its first on Hilton Head Island, will anchor the northeast side of Towne Centre. Kroger will open for business December 11, 2013. Customers will find upscale service areas, a drive-thru pharmacy, Starbucks and Murray's Cheese, a deli-bakery, bistro, and expansive natural foods, meat and seafood departments, Jenkins said. Motorists can also pull into a Kroger gas station on site. 

Belk's two existing buildings, encompassing 100,000 SF, have remained open during redevelopment and anchor the southwest end. Jos. A. Bank has relocated and reopened last month. The new Poseidon restaurant, Jake's Wayback Burgers, Heritage Fine Jewelry and other local, regional and national stores are expected to open for business next spring, said Allbritton. 

Construction of 220 luxury rental apartments will complete the final phase in 2015. 

A walking area with views of Broad Creek will bisect the two anchors and be hugged by upwards of 30 shops and businesses, Allbritton said. The walking path will lead to the 5-acre relocated Shelter Cove Community Park, which will include picnic areas, staging areas for festivals, a playground and pier. 

"Towne Centre will have all the components together in one central location," said Allbritton. "The park will be a real focal point; we want it to be the star of Hilton Head. We hope everybody will take advantage of it." 

"It's a shot in the arm for the island," said Steve Carb, SERG Restaurant Group founder and owner-partner of seven dining establishments on Hilton Head. 

SERG inked a tenant lease early on. Carb said he wanted to create a gran presence at Towne Centre that he could "build from scratch." His creative brainstorm is the 10,000 SF rooftop bar. 

Dean Rowland is a veteran senior editor and freelance writer living in Bluffton.