The Future of Sea Pines
Where is Sea Pines headed? After 50 years in business, that is probably one of the most frequently asked questions posed to President Mike Lawrence these days. The answer is that the company will continue doing what it has done in the past to retain its status as one of the finest residential resort communities on the East Coast. It will also learn from its past in order to make improvements so that it will continue to retain its status as a world-class community.
Since the late 1980s, property values in Sea Pines have steadily increased. Last year, the company saw residential property values increase 25 percent over 2004, said Lawrence, who expects the trend to continue. The rise in property values across the board has been driven by baby boomers buying second homes for investment purposes and retirement homes, coupled with the fact that mortgage interest rates are the lowest they have been in years.
Lawrence attributes Sea Pines’ success to these factors along with the fact that the community offers a truly unique mix of residential, resort and commercial amenities.“Charles Fraser’s design continues to be effective,” Lawrence said. “The land covenants provide the foundation for controlled, and long lasting community development and environmental preservation.” So what exactly is in store for Sea Pines in the future? Lawrence said several renovations and improvements are in the works for the commercial and resort entities within the community.“Our plan over the next five to 10 years is to continue to improve upon our resort amenities with responsible investing to provide a resort that is comparable to the best resorts on the East Coast,” he continued.
“Up until now, we have been a little behind the curve.” For the first time, the three commercial areas of Sea Pines – Harbour Town, South Beach and Sea Pines Center – are all owned and managed by the same entity. According to Lawrence, all will undergo capital improvements and renovations. The last time Harbour Town was renovated was in the mid-1980s. And Sea Pines Center, which hasn’t undergone any improvements since the late 1970s, is obsolete.” Specifically, plans call for a spa, racquet club and pro shop, to modernize the beach club, and to make improvements to Sea Pines food and beverage facilities. “It’s possible that a small inn could be built,” Lawrence added. The most likely site for the spa and inn are at the Plantation Club.
“Joe Fraser and I were talking about the fact that since Riverstone Group purchased the company this is the first time in 50 years that the company is well-capitalized,” Lawrence added. In March 2005, The Riverstone Group acquired Sea Pines Company for $74 million, including the real estate company, resorts, golf course and other development rights. Lawrence said he feels confident that the Riverstone Group, under the leadership of the Goodwin family, is dedicated to “doing their part to continue [Sea Pines’] tradition of being the finest residential resort community on the East Coast.”
“The Goodwins have owned property in Sea Pines for the past 25 years and are well-acquainted with its rich culture and history,” he said.“The objective is to find equilibrium between the resort and the guests we attract and the quality of the residential real estate product,” he concluded.