Archive for Beaufort
CBRE Furman Co. President Steve Navarro and Beaufort developer Jim Chaffin will partner on a joint project to redevelop an underutilized waterfront parking lot at Beaufort’s historic Downtown Marina. Beaufort City Council approved an agreement of understanding with Navarro and Chaffin’s firm, Historic Marina Partners LLC, that outlines the completion of a development plan with public input after 180 days.
“What I’m most excited about this is that it’s a really cool site that has so much potential,” said Navarro. “It’s in a really strategic location, and that’s something we think we can really take advantage of and attract a lot of people to.”
The four-acre parking lot site contains around 100 parking spots and is adjacent to the city-owned downtown marina, three public parks and the downtown shopping and entertainment district. The development is intended to encourage economic growth in the western end of downtown Beaufort’s retail district and to draw residents to the area, according to city news release.
Some who recently purchased property are seeing their rates increase tenfold, while rates for second homes or rental units are climbing 25 percent a year, with more raises to come. Local real estate agents say they’ve lost some deals after prospective buyers realized the cost of insurance, which can run more than $10,000 a year.
“There is definitely a shakeup in the industry,” said John Alagna, who owns Hilton Head-based Carolina Heritage Insurance. “This will impact a lot of people in the area.”
The rate increase stems from the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. The measure was passed overwhelmingly by Congress to keep the National Flood Insurance Program solvent after a barrage of claims from catastrophes such as hurricanes Katrina and Irene.
Reassessment notices for the 2013 tax year were mailed last week by the Beaufort County Assessor’s Office. These will include properties in Hilton Head Island, Bluffton, Daufuskie Island, Beaufort and all unincorporated areas of Beaufort County.
Appeals must be signed and either mailed or dropped off at any of the assessor’s three office’s in Beaufort, Bluffton, Hilton Head Island by Dec. 11. If the appeal isn’t received by the deadline, it will result in a waiver of the owner’s right of appeal for the current 2013 tax year.
My firm has successfully represented property owners in their property tax appeals, and we would gladly review your property reassessment situation at no charge. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if we can help. It will be interesting to see how much the assessor’s office feels that property values have rebounded.
Michael Dodds, MAI, CCIM
The Tax Equalization Board was expanded this spring — from seven members to 15 — to hear more appeals, but it has not heard a case in months. Over the summer, the board reorganized and trained its new members. It is now looking to send out hearing notices to property owners in September.
That means the board could start hearings in October, but not before more appeals are filed with the assessor after a countywide reassessment.
The backlog of cases choking the appeals system reached nearly 200 earlier this year, though the Assessor’s Office has since been able to chop the backlog to between 140 and 160 cases, according to county assessor Ed Hughes.
If you receive your reassessment notice and believe that the value is too high, be sure to explore the appeal process in Beaufort County. If you need assistance with an appeal on commercial property, or a high-end residential property, please let me know. You can also contact Dale Stigamier at Integrity Real Estate Advisors for assistance. You can reach Dale at (803) 772-9100.
Michael Dodds, MAI, CCIM
Plans are in the works to build a five-story, 80-room hotel in downtown Beaufort on a block where a former Piggly Wiggly grocery store now stands and the city’s master plan calls for a parking garage.
HD Construction and HD Companies submitted plans to the city’s Historic District Review Board, which is expected to discuss them Aug. 14.
According to the application, the hotel would be at 913 Port Republic St., where the former food store is. It’s not clear what would happen to the vacant store.
The first floor would include commercial space, an art gallery and the hotel lobby. Another lobby would be included on the second floor, a fitness center on the third and a patio on the fourth. The fifth floor also would also have a roof patio, along with meeting space and a bar and restaurant.
For the third time since 2006, an attempt by developers to buy the Port of Port Royal property has fallen through. Port Royal Town Council learned Wednesday that the Port Royal Redevelopment Group had been unable to secure financing for the $17-million purchase.
The lengthy process to purchase the land will now start over again. The South Carolina Ports Authority released a statement Wednesday saying it will work with the town to “ensure a quick turnaround and sale.” “The property will be immediately prepared for re-marketing, and an updated appraisal will be performed in view of several positive changes on the site that have occurred over the past two years,” a Ports Authority statement said.
Town Council met in executive session after its regular meeting to discuss the implications of the failed purchase.
The state is seeking new buyers for the Port of Port Royal property despite the fact that the developer attempting to buy it for $17 million has a month to close the deal.
“Due to the continued difficulties the buyer has faced getting their final financing arrangements, we have granted a final extension with a closing date of Sept. 12,” S.C. State Ports Authority spokeswoman Allison Skipper said by phone Wednesday. “But in the meantime, we are open to speaking with other potential buyers in case that does not go through.”
The property continues to be listed by the NAI Avant real estate firm at $20.4 million. The company previously marketed the 52-acre property.
The Beaufort Commerce Park is scheduled to belong to the city by Thursday, and officials are making plans for what happens next. The city is buying the 209-acre park from S.C. Bank and Trust for $1.85 million, after the bank bought it at auction last fall for $2 million.
It will be financed through 10-year general obligation bonds carrying an interest rate of 2.11 percent, according to city manger Scott Dadson. BB&T won the contract Friday to issue the bonds.
After the city completes the purchase, City Council will work with the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce to arrange a grand opening event, Dadson said.
Texas-based Olympus Property has purchased the 400-unit Preserve at Port Royal, an apartment complex located at 1 Preserve Ave. W. in Port Royal, for $31.25 million. Amenities include a free YMCA membership, fitness center, two swimming pools, a business center, an internet lounge with coffee bar, walking trails, a pool-side cabana with grills and a playground.
Jim Sewell and Steve Mack of Hilton Head, S.C.-based Coastal Apartment Advisors represented the seller, Preserve at Port Royal LLC, in the transaction.
Foreclosures statewide increased sharply in the first quarter of 2012, a trend especially apparent — but not yet worrisome, according to local real estate experts — in Beaufort County.
The number of lender-owned real estate properties rose nearly 40 percent statewide in the first quarter of 2012 over the final three months of 2011, according to California-based real estate research firm RealtyTrac.
Edward Dukes, broker-in-charge of Lowcountry Real Estate in Beaufort, agreed with some analysts who attributed the spike in part to the lingering robo-signing scandal.
Beginning in late 2010, banks had to halt thousands of foreclosure proceedings nationwide when it became known that related filings were being signed without being adequately reviewed, creating a backlog from which Dukes thinks the county has yet to fully emerge.
As spring break ushers in this year’s tourist season, local hospitality industry leaders are bracing for a busy summer, buoyed by encouraging recently released statistics.
People are not only staying in Hilton Head Island hotels more often, but they’re spending more money when they do, according to a report from the Smith Travel Research firm. The key statistic is the revenue per available room generated by area hotels in the past six months, says Susan Thomas, vice president of the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce’s Visitor and Convention Bureau.
That figure, which takes into account hotels’ occupancy rates and average daily room rates, was up 23.7 percent for the past six months compared to the same period the previous year
The Beaufort City Council Tuesday night unanimously put the gears in motion to annex, buy and rezone a 167-acre Commerce Park near the Marine Corps Air Station.
Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling called the decision “…a bold decision, a historic decision, an important decision.” Final consideration and votes on the Commerce Park purchase and annexation are scheduled for Tuesday, April 3 at 7 p.m.
Officials tell us current owners of the Commerce Park parcels petitioned their land to be annexed into the City limits. At the same time, City Council approved on first reading the purchase of the Commerce Park for $1.85 million – less than what the property had been appraised at last year. The contract with SCBT bank calls for the deal to close within 60 days.
There was good news and bad news for Beaufort County in the S.C. Realtors’ August housing market report released Thursday:
- Sales in the Hilton Head area rose 21.9 percent in August when compared to August 2010. But they dropped 10.4 percent in the Beaufort area.
- Median home prices for Hilton Head rose 19.2 percent to $255,000. They dropped 10.2 percent for Beaufort to $180,250.
- The average numbers of days on the market for Hilton Head dropped 12.8 percent to 110. The number also dropped for Beaufort, by 15.9 percent, to 170 days.
The year-to-date percentage changes from 2010 to 2011, however, were less dramatic:
- Sales rose 6.7 percent in the Hilton Head area and 1.8 percent in the Beaufort area.
- The median price was down 2.6 percent to $228,000 for Hilton Head and up 0.1 percent to $179,250 for Beaufort.
- The average number of days on the market was up 6.8 percent to 140 for Hilton Head and up 17.7 percent to 200 for Beaufort.
Two expansive Fripp Island homes featured earlier this month in the Wall Street Journal are going to be auctioned off — with no minimum bid and no reserve — on Aug. 30.
If it seems like an unusual way for a family to divest a vacation home — well, that’s because it is. Coleman White, broker in charge at Island Realty, said he isn’t aware of similar auctions in the area. “This is the first that I’m familiar with,” he said. “It’ll be interesting to see how well-attended it is.”
County property-tax records show the larger home is 4,906 square feet and was assessed in 2009 at $1.38 million. The other is 3,648 square feet and was assessed at $1.41 million.
Beaufort Commerce Park is scheduled to be sold by Beaufort County’s Master-in-Equity on September 6th. The 160 acre industrial park is being foreclosed on by a group of five lenders. The park’s owner, Lowcountry Economic Network, a failed public-private industrial recruitment organization, walked away from the property and its $2 million obligation after its attempts to seek financial support from Beaufort County proved unsuccessful.