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Hardeeville developing 9,500 homes

Hardeeville recently opened an early Christmas present.

“This is like a Christmas present we have been waiting to unwrap,” Hardeeville Mayor Harry Williams said.

The city announced last Tuesday plans for a 7,351-acre community that will include 9,500 residential homes and 1.5 million square feet of commercial retail and office space.

“We have been working on this for the last couple of years,” Williams said. “We weren’t close to this announcement when we had the other planned development, Latitude Margaritaville Hilton Head, make their announcement.”

The East Argent Planned Development District, between U.S. 278 and Hwy. 170, represents the largest in the city’s history, according to a city news release. It includes Hampton Pointe and other planned communities, the city said.

Williams said there was a possibility for an age-restricted component to be included in the project, however that was not determined at the time of the announcement.

“There may be a gated community as part of the development, for example, something like Rose Hill but without a golf course,” he said.

There will be different levels of housing available, Williams said, to accommodate the expected workforce that will be coming into the area once the Jasper Port is completed, which is expected to be 2025.

“From welders to technicians to computer operators, there will be a need for a variety of different price points for housing,” he said.

Argent Land Holdings, LLC, an Atlanta-based development company, acquired the residual East Argent property in late 2016.

“Our concentration has been prevalent in the Southeastern Region, with focus on the Carolinas and Georgia,” Jeff Coggin, Development Manager for East Argent said Friday. “The Hardeeville-Bluffton-Savannah markets have been identified as one of the fastest growing and most sought after market areas in the South, and we fully expect very strong and quality growth in the future.”

Coggin said the development would create significant job demand, with positions being created in all facets of the real estate and construction industries.

“The rollover impact will also be felt throughout the region with significant capital expenditure and resulting job growth in many other encillary service industries, both within East Argent and the geographic area,” he said. “The development fees and tax base generated for the city of Hardeeville will certainly have a transforming affect for the municipality.”

The development has been originally approved for 12,574 residential homes in addition to 1,392 acres of potential commercial development.

Development is expected to begin in 2018, with the first completed homesites anticipated in early 2019.

Coggin said East Argent will have a commercial center at the entrance of the Hwy. 170 entranceway and will offer a range of basic needs services, commercial retail, office and institutional development.

“Although some commercial uses have been defined, many will not be determined until market demand defines further design and uses,” Coggin said. “The commercial center will be known as The Village at East Argent.”

The city said the project will increase Hardeeville’s population of 5,800, to more than 25,000 upon completion.

“The new Jasper Ocean Terminal will bring over 1 million new jobs to this region by 2040 and this new multi-faceted development is strategically planned to accommodate the work force housing needs of the future,” Williams said in a news release. “We applaud Argent Land Holdings for collaborating with the City to make this long-range vision a reality.”

City Manager Michael Czymbor said the city worked with Argent Land Holdings to “ensure that all the needed infrastructure, roads, and recreational amenities will be paid for by the development and not the existing taxpayers of the City.”

The new community expects to offer a residential price range of $250,000 to $750,000, with residential and multi-family offerings and prices, the news release said.

The residential offerings will include “workforce housing, age-preferenced and custom home products provided through exclusive builder neighborhoods and multi-builder program communities.”

The news release said a “wide range of amenities and conveniences” will be offered.

“This is a new development and we haven’t been presented a master plan yet, so the actual amenities are not known,” Williams said. “This is a multi-faceted, 20-year plan. This is about what’s going to happen 20 years from now. This is a plan for the future.”

Coggin said the amenities are still in the planning stage.

“Two neighborhoods are being planned with significant lake systems to create lakefront living and many water-related amenities for the entire family,” Coggin said.

The developer will donate 75 acres to the city, Williams said, for an active park site, police and fire stations, and schools.

“We can do a lot with this land for our infrastructure needs,” Williams said. ” A lot of the commercial land is part of Osprey Village and the village is planning on donating 15 acres for a YMCA and this could also include an independent living facility.”

Active and passive City Parks will include a combined area of more than 250 acres with utilization of Conservation Easement property for passive park and trails. The community will offer a water recreation amenity to include boating and fishing, in addition to other water sports.

The development will include the completion of Central Loop Road, connecting Hwy. 141 through East Argent to Hwy. 170, as well as other road improvements.

The city said the project will generate more than $100 million in development fees to be used for infrastructure, police and fire facilities, parks and recreation, schools and other uses identified by the city.

An increased tax base of more than $3 billion is anticipated, according to the city.

Earlier this year Hardeeville announced plans for the 55-and-over development of Latitude Margaritaville Hilton Head, which will cover 2,739 acres and include about 3,000 homes.

“The new project is not necessarily the same kind of entity as Latitude Margaritaville Hilton Head,” Williams said. “There will be a different focus.”

Coggin said it was important to offer many different products and lifestyles for a buyer to choose from.

“The projected growth and demand for the market area over the next 20-plus years will be more than sufficient for the proficient developers and the quality-driven communities they create,” he said.

Williams said the city’s main goal is focusing on bringing jobs to the area for future generations.

“We want to bring jobs to this area where our children will grow up here and find good jobs here and want to live here,” he said.

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