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Kiawah Island Conserves Marsh, Plans Resort Expansion

The coastal island resort known for great golf courses and spectacular beaches chose March of 2018 to announce milestones regarding both conservation and development. The Kiawah Conservancy and Kiawah Partners just completed protection of the extensive marsh system of 1,850-acres between the Kiawah River and Kiawah Island. The Kiawah Island Golf Resort announced plans to build a new beachfront hotel, one with deeper porches and a more relaxed feel that suits the Lowcountry.

The new Kiawah 2.0 development plans were announced at the Sanctuary Hotel, during a special media event organized by Golf Resort public relations director Bryan Hunter. In attendance were the architects, engineers, general contractors and interior designers that are ready to begin what will be a transformation process ahead of the 2021 PGA Championship golf tournament at the Ocean Course. The wide-ranging plans include two four-bedroom cottages on the Ocean Course, which are sure to be in high demand.

The President of Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Roger Warren, spoke to the crowd about each of the building projects that are to be completed simultaneously. “We are talking about adding beautiful buildings here at Kiawah, but the mission is still to provide great service to our guests,” said Warren. “While we are proud of Cougar Point golf course, we see the need for improved facilities so Kiawah 2.0 includes a brand new clubhouse for Cougar Point. The clubhouse will become just a part of a new cluster of amenities including a new waterfront hotel with ocean view restaurants and a convention center, all connected by a boardwalk to enhance the public experience.”

“Another major project with visitor recreation as the goal is the totally new vision for Night Heron Park,” said Warren. “What is in place now will be razed and rebuilt with the finest outdoor amenities, all under the guidance of long time Recreation Department leader Elizabeth King. Our Roy Barth tennis Center will undergo a large expansion and evolve into a world-class tennis facility. Finally, the resort owners feel strongly about the addition of a chapel, and it will be adjacent to the Sanctuary Hotel.”

The Honorable Craig Weaver is the mayor of the Town of Kiawah and he spoke about how the future is bright for the property owners of Kiawah. “Parts of the island are already 40-years old, and while that will always be an important part of our brand, these enhancements to the resort are welcome.” Jimmy Bailey with the Kiawah Island Community Association remarked that this announcement is exciting for Kiawah but also for all of the Lowcountry. “We applaud the finer details of this project that call for a safer, more pedestrian-friendly resort community.”

Kiawah Island Golf Resort manages the Sanctuary Hotel and Sanctuary Spa, Kiawah Island Golf Resort Villa rentals, Kiawah Island Tennis Resort, The Golf Learning Center and Night Heron Park. The five golf courses under their management include The Ocean Course, Turtle Point, Osprey Point, Oak Point and Cougar Point. William Goodwin of Richmond, Virginia purchased the Kiawah Island Golf Resort in 1995, and also owns The Sea Pines Resort in Hilton Head.

The Kiawah Partners group heads up real estate development on Kiawah and ensures that quality of life on the island remains high. The Kiawah Partners gifted 1,150-acres of intertidal marsh along the Kiawah River to the Kiawah Conservancy in March of 2018. Crossing a causeway bridge is the only route onto Kiawah Island, and visitors instinctively look to the left and enjoy the expansive marshy vista, which is now protected in perpetuity.

Lowcountry residents may recall that the Kuwait Investment Corporation owned Kiawah Island from 1974 to 1976. Many thought that development would blossom under their ownership, but in fact they completed an extensive environmental inventory of Kiawah Island. This baseline still serves today as a compass to measure any significant changes to the wildlife found there. This unique maritime ecosystem will always surround and embrace Kiawah Island.

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at LowcountryOutdoors.com

Jeff Dennis, Contributor (359 Posts)

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com